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book, i'm getting it today, i intend to read it. i know her well and i listen to her stories. give you an example of what can be done in america. yes. >> thanks so much for being here. i know that your amendment to the electronic communications privacy act was passed back in november in your committee and i was wondering if you could talk about what you think will happen next and how it will be received. any roadblocks it might run into. and also what else you think needs to be done to protect our privacy. . >> thank you very much. it got through the committee in december, but it was towards the end of the session. we knew it would not go on the floor, but i did want to lay down the marker. it's coming back up again.
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we have so much ability to go on line. we have just seen the newest thing that facebook came out with yesterday, and check back and find things about everybody. i'm also struck with somebody will tell me, come up with some outlandish thing. i know it's true, i read it on the internet. it's an advantage to be able to have yourself, one of the advantages of being able to pick it up and call up any information you want, but not to the extent you give up your own privacy. i worry that people can track who you called and how. that -- what sites you're reading and why. these are -- i'll give you an example. nobody questions the fact that
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if a police agency wants to go into your home, open your files, papers, read through them, they are going to have to have a search warrant. i question the willingness to have a different view when they can do it from 100 miles away with a key stroke. it is going to be a fight, but i think people are realizing they don't have to give up their ability to use the internet and everything else, while at the same time guarding their freedom. those are broad brush answers, i realize, but we are going to bring it back this year. it's also one of the things that helped in my decision to stay as chair of the judiciary committee. thank you. >> next question on the left. i'm sorry. my left. >> senator, thank you so much.
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>> i automatically look to the left. i once was at the smithsonian, i'm one of the regents, and clint eastwood was doing something, i was standing next to him for the photograph. and photographer said everyone move a little to the right. eastwood said, patrick, easy for me, not so easy for you. >> late last year you sent a letter to the justice department asking for clarification on their position regarding the recent ballot initiatives in colorado and washington, which legalized marijuana, and the resulting discrepancy with federal law. i was wondering if you could please talk about what motivated you to write the letter and what you believe the correct approach might be. >> i have a real concern for states' rights. we vermonters like to the
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extent we possibly can to determine our own laws. i assume most other states do. i want -- i'm raising the question with the federal authorities. i don't want to prejudge what might be said in a hearing, but i am concerned that just because marijuana is illegal, possession of it, under federal law, that we are just going to ignore what states do and send law enforcement in there to enforce the federal law even though the states have a different view on it. we don't do it in most other areas, and so i'd like to have some clarification of that. i also must say, my own
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predilection is that i hate to see a great deal of law enforcement resources spent on things like the possession, use of marijuana when we have a -- murder case, armed robbery -- murder case, armed robbery cases, things like that that go unresolved. let's see what he they come up with. that's my feeling. it was also my feeling as a prosecutor i found more important things to do. >> on comprehensive immigration reform most of the discussion has centered around a gang of six or senator rubio's recent proposal. i was wondering what role you foresaw the judiciary committee playing in the discussions and proposals. >> it comes up in the judiciary committee, there will be some
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aspects. but the primary immigration will come before us. that's why i'm having this major hearing. everybody who's got views, i am going to make sure they're heard. i have a lot of respect for marco rubio. we disagree on some things, agree on others. i found him to be very open in his views. i'll seek that. i'll talk to those who are on border states, southern border states. i want to hear what they have to say. i actually joined with president george w. bush, he wanted a comprehensive immigration reform, i told him i strongly support him on that. we don't face this issue in vermont. we don't have canadians wanting to come across the border for a better life or better health care system or whatever in the united states. they are pretty comfortable where they are.
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but that's not the case everywhere. i'm also very worried -- some of the things i hear and some of the blogs xenophobic attitude, kick those foreigners out, probably by somebody who is one or two generations away from being immigrants themselves. that's not what america is about. that's not what attracted my grandparents and great grandparents to this country. so i am perfectly willing whether it's the gang of six, 12, or something, but in the united states senate we need a gang of 51 to get it through and you need majority in the house. i have talked with president obama about this. i know he's strongly committed to real immigration reform. would like to see the dream act passed. i'd like to see a number of other things and we'll work on it.
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one of your fellow graduates of georgetown, senator durbin, deserves every kind of honor and praise for what he's done in the dream act. he'll be very important in this. >> good morning, senator. "the washington post" had a piece yesterday suggesting that you represented perhaps an obstacle to the passage of gun control legislation. i'm wondering -- obviously you do in a sense. but i'm wondering if sort of standard practice in congress should yield to what many perceive to be an extremely urgent situation. >> i think it is an urgent situation and that's why the first hearings held by anybody, house or senate, is going to be by me and my committee in that.
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i wasn't quite sure who they were writing about when i read the article, but i will strongly defend the press right to print anything they want, accurate or otherwise, but the fact is -- i'm not suggesting whether this was accurate or not, but i would point out that i have a track record of getting legislation passed. there are some who say nothing will pass. i disagree with that. what i'm interested in is what we can get. i'm interested in -- i'm not interested in those who say nothing can pass. for example we can close the gun sales loopholes, people have these
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open gun sales, traveling gun sales, what not, that's a huge loophole. i think we could tighten up our background checks. there are a number of things we can do. is there any one solution that would stop it after -- would stop what happened in newtown? no. different parts of the country, different ways. i'll tell you one thing, about the only gun law we have in vermont is during deer season. if you have a semiautomatic you can't have more than six rounds in it. are we really as a nation say we are going to be more protective of the deer than we are of our children? i think not. [applause] >> good morning. i was wondering do you plan on
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introducing the juvenile justice and delinquency prevention act? do you plan on introducing it again, i know you introduced it previously. >> depending upon the form of it, yes. >> thank you. >> i don't mean to be so brief. i think we felt a lot of our juvenile justices done at the state level, there are certain things done at the federal level. again it's an area we can provide a lot more assistance, a lot more help than those who say, well, we can't afford to do that, obviously have not spent time in a juvenile court as i have. not as a -- [laughter] i hasten to explain, i was
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there as a prosecutor. i wasn't there as a juvenile because i never got caught. thank you. [laughter] oh, dear. is this on television? >> good morning, senator. thanks for being here. i apologize for another question about potential gun control legislation, but given that a lot of talk in the media has been around sort of high capacity magazines and these weapons -- military grade weapons that have been used in mass killings, but a large percentage of gun violence in the united states is ordinary weapons that are purchased illegally. i was wondering if you could talk more about i guess if there are any policies you foresee coming through about secondhand market illegal gun purchases and things to limit that. >> the gun show loophole is one that has to be closed. contrary to the suggestion, i voted for the 1994 assault weapons ban. and i think it should not have
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been allowed to expire. it was. i voted to ban cop killer bullets, the so-called high penetration bullets. the gun show loophole, say you have a car and you're going to sell it to me, you have to go through all kinds of registration, pay taxes, do all the other things. we transferred one of our cars to one of our sons here recently. we had to go through the motor vehicle department transfer, whatever. why somebody should be able to go into a gun show and buy any kind of a thing without any kind of the background check you might have otherwise, at least -- i -- at least not an enforceable
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one, i can't understand that. i really can't. i think we should have stricter background checks. i think they should be real ones. if you have the restraining orders on you, other things, we ought to be able to do that. i realize every state's different. vermont has virtually no gun laws. you can carry loaded concealed weapon in vermont this afternoon if you were there with no permit. we also have one of the lowest crime rates in the country but not because of that. we are as a society we are very law-abiding, but would that stop somebody who is mentally unhinged from going out and using a gun, knife, or anything else to kill people? no. the president's right when he says there are a whole lot of factors involved. i'm anxious to be at this meeting this morning to hear
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their proposals. and they will be considered in the judiciary committee. but i also, i'm open to anybody else's. can we pass a law that will stop all gun violence? no. we can't pass a law that will stop all drunk driving accidents. we can't stop a law that's going to stop cancer. but the fact that we can't do something with perfection doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything. there are things we should do. these large magazines, assault weapons, gun show loopholes, of course those have to be addressed. we again in vermont, we restrict the number of rounds you could have in your semiautomatic for deer hunting. we ought to be as protective of our children as we are deer. >> hi, senator. not strictly a judiciary committee question, but the filibuster has been frequently discussed as a barrier to
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passing lots of legislation across the board. i was just wondering with your many years in the senate a lot of the recent proposals are also proposed by our newer senators. senators berkley, udall. i was wondering if you have any reservations about any of those proposals and any details about how you feel about -- >> i think -- i agree with many of the newer senators. there's got to be some significant change. i felt that same way when i first came here. one of my very first assignments, being here just a few months, was work with then senator mondale of minnesota, later vice president, to change the filibuster rule we had at that time to move it effectively from 67 to 60. what has happened now, the filibuster's one thing to protect the minority. you got a major issue. i happen to disagree with those
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who filibuster the civil rights laws, but it was a major enough issue in this country that it required the debate to go forward and finally they were passed. but when you have one person, may even call from the airport, put a hold on this bill, i'm not prepared to vote for it, that's baloney. if you want to actually stand up for something, get on the floor and do it. so many of the holds and the so-called silent filibusters are for some of the most picayune nonsensical things. if people had to stand on the floor and talk about it, pretty soon everybody would say, are you out of your mind? i would say my distinguished colleagues because only in a distinguished way are they out of their mind. i want to follow the senate rules here. but this has become ridiculous.
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best example, dozens and dozens and dozens of judicial nominees get held for month after month after month. they have been nominated. they have gone through the senate judiciary committee unanimously. and then -- basically shut down their law practice because they are going to become federal judge. then for months and months are in this limbo because we can't bring it to a vote. and then when we finally do bring it to a vote, they get 95 votes, 98 votes out of 100. no. this is allowing people to vote maybe. not yes or no. if you feel strongly about an issue, come to the floor. our rules allow you to debate. on some of these things, most of these things, i don't find anybody feels that strongly about their willing to stand up and explain to the american public on c-span and on the congressional record here's why i am opposing it because usually their reasons do not
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stand the light of day. thank you. in case you wonder how i feel about it. >> do we have time for one more question? >> yes, go ahead. >> you alluded earlier to your experience as a prosecutor and your opinions been mandatory minimums and states' rights with marijuana legislation. i'm curious a month ago we had a film here, the house i live in, which illuminated a lot of the effects of the war on drugs -- >> eugene's film? >> correct. >> eugene is somebody my wife and i have known since he was a teenager. my wife another role as a justice of the peace for a year officiated his wedding. >> i found it to be a powerful film. i'm curious in your role, do you foresee a day where we are going to step back from that ledge of the war on drugs, and if so what specific legislative measures and how do
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you foresee that process? >> i don't have to step back. i felt very strongly about this. i have spoken about this a number of times. i think that i -- i think eugene has done a wonderful thing in getting this debate going, "the new yorker," "new york times," and others have articles about eugene and what he's done. i have a showing at the m.p.a. of this movie and had members of the judiciary committee down to see it. i think in some ways, i realize somewhat oversimplification, i'm sure people are going to question what i'm saying, but in some way our so-called war on drugs, we made some of the same mistakes we made in our war on terrorism. where you have unnecessary checks everywhere on people for
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-- 2-year-old child that can't board a plane because they are on a terrorist list. obvious mistake but nobody can do anything about it. the fact that so many people, especially young people, go to prison for a relatively minor thing, but a drug offense, and then you ask why can't they get jobs afterwards? why do they have problems from then on? i think we have spent tens of billions, hundreds of billions of dollars on the so-called war on drugs. well, we have lost. [applause] >> thank you all very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> senator leahy spoke about two hours before the president laid out his proposals to reduce gun violence.
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among those proposals, background checks for all gun buyers. currently firearms purchased at gun shows do not require background checks. the president also wants to ban assault weapons and high-capacity clips. he said he would seek more money for mental health treatment, including more money for police officers in schools. he signed an executive order, one that would have reverend and another one with gun sales. we will show you all the president's comments coming up at 8:00 on c-span. and today, the topic of gun violence is a discussion by the house democratic steering and policy committee. among those who will be speaking, newtown, connecticut, school superintendent janet robinson. again, that's live at 2:00 eastern. and taking us up until then, a
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preview of house agenda next on this morning's "washington journal." host: we're back with the top democrat on the house ways and means committee, sander levin. you said you're not confident that tax reform will happen in 2013. you are not confident. why? guest: because so much is happening. the way the republicans are threatening to use the debt ceiling delays everything and it puts the perspective in the wrong place. i think it is a serious mistake for them to even think about that. you were talking earlier about the articles this morning saying how dangerous it is to use the debt ceiling to essentially put the full faith and credit of this country in real jeopardy. so i'm very concerned about the
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consequences of doing that or even threatening to do it immediately and, also, it really shifts the focus, instead of it being on the debt ceiling, it should be elsewhere, including tax reform. host: if tax reform does not happen in 2013 -- guest: it may not happen. host: what is the impact of that? what is the implication? guest: i have said all along it is important for us to look beyond the label "tax reform." for example, we urged early on tax reform bringing the rates down to 25% individual and corporate, they -- without indicating how in the world they would do that. some said, we can use the exemptions and deductions. we have already begun to use them, i hope, in an effective way. i think we need to go beyond the rhetoric of tax reform and talk about what the substance of what it would be.
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again, one of the problems with this effort by the republicans to escape the reality, we cannot use the debt ceiling as a weapon. as i said yesterday, it's not a weapon against the president. politically. it is really against the people of this country, because the consequences of a default would ripple throughout the economy. i just saw an article yesterday that said the people are now drawing on their retirement funds, the middle class of this country. so we now want to have a debt ceiling threat that would cause further erosion in the stock market, that would essentially make things begin to go haywire? i guess the republicans are going to be thinking this weekend how to proceed. i think they need to proceed with sensibility and common sense instead of an effort to
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be so extreme that you threaten the economy of the country. host: house republicans leaving for a retreat tomorrow to discuss - guest: they should retreat from the idea of using the debt ceiling. host: you referenced "the wall street journal" this morning. many republicans see a debt limit showdown as risky. pat toomey said tuesday he would introduce legislation next reconstructing the white house to prioritize the government's bills. what's wrong with that idea? guest: we have had some deficit reduction. as the president laid out a couple days ago, we have had over $2 trillion.
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we had 1.5 trillion that came from previous actions. and then we added just a few days ago some further deficit reductions through some increased taxes on the very wealthy of this country. so we have already begun to undertake deficit reduction. to use that as a reason to use the debt ceiling as a weapon is really playing with fire. they say pay some bills and not pay others. we have never tried that before. host: is it feasible? guest: i don't think so. which bills? social security? veterans? people out fighting for this country? which bills do you pay? we never tried that. i think the president put it so well. this is not a deadbeat nation
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really, and i think common sense is likely to prevail within the republican ranks. i know, if i might say so, if not firsthand, secondhand, much of the leadership within the house republican caucus, not all of it, i think some realizes the potential consequences. host: if president obama won on the fiscal cliff deal and got taxes increased, was able to get new revenue, then why not, as democrats, agreed to certain spending cuts that republicans want? guest: the president made clear that there has to be, in terms of what is coming, a mixture, a balance between cuts and revenues. in terms of the sequester, we are going to have to have a blend, a balance. the president has said that and we have said that. but to say that there will be only spending cuts and no more
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revenues, that is not feasible. i looked over the discretionary spending charts. now the way we are going, in terms of the percentage of g.d.p., what we spend on education, what we spend on health research, what we spend on so many necessary programs in this country is going to go down. the trend line is already there. what the republicans are essentially saying is to push it further. have further consequences in terms of health research. does that make sense? do the american people want that? the answer is no. we have to have balance. the problem within the republican conference of the house is there is too much imbalance. host: do you agree with this editorial --
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guest: no one is suggesting relying only on taxation of the very wealthy. that is a sham target. no one is saying that. but let me point out, if we look at what has happened to middle-income families -- and i mentioned what is happening with the 401-k requirements, they're now dipping into their retirement on a massive basis. in 2010, the top 1% received over 90% of the income growth. that represents basically a very -- i represent basically a very middle-class district. i know the struggle to stay above water, in some cases. all we're asking for is balance. host: on the spending side, would democrats agree to
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raising the eligibility age for medicare? guest: there is deep hesitation. i have suggested, in terms of medicare, and i said this yesterday, and i've talked to the chairman of the committee, we need to sit down and look at medicare on a bipartisan, bicameral basis, with the president included, the white house included. because two things have happened with medicare in the last couple years. number one, the rate of increase has gone down. it was less than 1% last year in terms of medicare. and so, there is a reduction in health care inflation in medicare. second, we have health care reform. and h.h.s. says that one of the reasons there is a reduction in the rate of increase in health care costs is because of health care reform. health care reform -- and a number of us worked hard to
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make sure it was in there, instrumentalitys to change from the fee for service which i had some family personal experience with. it is not effective. it is not understandable. and so we need further reform of the rume bursment system. we ought to sit down on a bipartisan basis. i think raising the age has major problems with that. we should sit down and talk about all options. host: so is it a no on raising the age? guest: i'm very hesitant to do that but i think we should sit down and look at the entire medicare picture. host: open to some changes on medicare. guest: i think we should look at it. we had in may -- in health care reform, major changes in terms of medicare and in terms of the provisions for the providers.
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over $700 billion worth. when republicans say, let's talk about spending, we already talked about spending. we've already undertaken some major changes in terms of spending. but all they're saying is, it's all spending or over the cliff. that is such a serious threat to the economy of this country. you i think saw in the clips this morning that credit agencies are saying once again the credit of this country is threatened. are we really going to put in jeopardy the full faith and credit of the united states of america? host: i want to get viewers involved but the credit agencies have said you also need to address spending. guest: that's agreed. we talk about balance. it's balance versus inbalance. balance has to win. host: let's get our viewers involved. junior in virginia, independent
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caller. hi, junior. caller: mr. levin, why are you standing there telling us stuff that you know is not true ? when are we going to see a budget from this administration? everything you said is untrue? we know it's untrue. host: what did he say specifically that is untrue? caller: blaming the republicans. four years we've been under this -- guest: junior, the administration has presented a budget every year. it's not correct to say they haven't presented a budget. we've been dead locked within the congress in terms of the ability to pass a budget through the house and the senate, and the house has presented budgets that almost no democrat could vote for. i think the people of this country would not agree with. and the senate, which has a
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60-vote requirement, has been unable to find common ground within their ranks. they have rejected the house republican budget. it is not correct to say the administration has not presented a budget when it has and is working on another one. host: senate democrats, i wonder if he was talking about that. guest: because it takes 60 votes. and the senate is now considering how to get out of that tangle that requirement but, junior, look, i want to have discussion and i think it's important to get to the facts. the fact is the administration has presented a budget and is working on another one right now. host: lawton, michigan. guest: where is lawton? caller: it's by papa. host: where is that?
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caller: southwest. way down in republican territory. guest: there's wine. they grow grapes there? caller: as far as i know. whole other subject there. host: tim, go ahead. caller: these people that the republicans back up are all sitting there. they can sit back and wait because they got the money to do it. all these things that are going to happen are going to come down on poor people and let me tell that fool from virginia that the republican when he runs out of money, those republicans aren't going to want to know him any more either. host: you are saying this will come down on middle class americans. you're referencing if the debt ceiling is not raised? caller: the middle class starts at like $75,000. what about the people that are making $20,000, $30,000, $40,000? host: ok, congressman. guest: i think you're right. i think you're talking about the debt ceiling and putting in jeopardy the full faith and credit of this country is really going to hurt everybody.
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surely middle-class people and people trying to climb up the ladder. it's reckless. and when they talk about, well, let's pay some of our bills and let's not pay others, i said to a reporter, asked me yesterday about this, i said, well, now you tell me which ones. individual homes have trouble doing that and prefer not to. the greatest nation in the world is going to say, we're going to pay some bills and not others and boll bondholders and defense contractors and social security recipients? host: jodie on twitter asks -- guest: sure, there are administrative costs, social security and medicare.
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by the way, in terms of administrative costs better than any other -- the administrative costs are low. of course there are. there's always a need to have more efficiency. there is no excuse for tampering with the full faith and credit of this country. host: joe from houston, texas. republican caller. hi, joe. caller: how you doing? thank you for taking my call. i have a question for you. the president ran on, you know, raising taxes on the upper class. he raised taxes on 77% of us. let's not forget that. he also ran on for every dollar of revenue, he would have $3 in spending cuts? where are the spending cuts? host: i'll have the congressman respond to that. where are the spending cuts? guest: the president laid out in his press conference there have been $1.5 trillion in
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terms of spending cuts. the budget control that. and before that caps on appropriation bills. and those caps have been adhered to. it is a myth we have not had spending cuts. the issue before us is, are we going to rely only on those and which ones and are we going to hit health care? i feel very deeply, i think, greta, and so do most americans, in terms of health research. i'll tell you a quick story. my wife was involved in. she ran a peer review group at n.i.h. on child development. when she started, she did that for 20, 25 years, they would have for peer review 100 applications. they would say maybe 50 of them were top flight and they are reviewed by peer review.
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out of that they might pick 25 that should be funded. in those days, there was enough money of the top caliber to fund may be 10, 15. today, it is one, two, or three of the original 100. and the same is true in medical research at n.i.h. they also don't have adequate funding for our health. are we going to further cut funding for n.i.h. for health research in this country? and the same is true for training programs. we need to retrain americans so that they're able to really qualify for every kind of job. we have a trainee deficit in this country. we need to combine training programs and do a better job. are we going to hurt that effort? that is what is at stake. when the republicans say, yes,
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cut regardless -- there was an amendment yesterday to cut all discretionary -- all nondefense discretionary programs. and sadly i think 50 voted for it. willy-nilly, across the board, doesn't matter what it is. that's not the way we proceed. host: was it the amendment to the sandy relief bill? guest: it was. host: and it failed. about 180 democrats to beat back in a amendment put forth by nick mulvaney. on the tax side of the ledger, deductions and loopholes and what people are talking about. spending cuts and then we look at deductions and loopholes and things like that. so what are the big ones that would bring in the most revenue? guest: we have talked about the itemized deductions that include mortgage interest and charitable contributions.
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we already took a step in that direction in the tax reform bill that we passed the tax bill, the so-called piece provision. i think we need to look at it further. the president has a proposal. one caller said, where's the budget? well, the president had in his budget proposals a 28% limit on itemized deductions. i think we need to look at it carefully. charitable contributions, for example, mortgage interest, state and local taxes. so that's a major area. and the president proposed essentially $600 billion, $700 billion over 10 years from that area. i don't any we can now attain that much even if we adopted the president's 28% limit. host: why not?
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guest: why not? because i think we have to look at the impact on charitable contributions. half of the charitable contributions in this country, a lot of us contribute, most of us contribute something, but a lot comes from the very wealthy. i think we need to be careful we don't come too hard -- host: i got you. there we go. we'll drink some more coffee. guest: but we need to look at that. also, let me mention carried interest. most don't know what carried interest is. when people manage other people's money, the way the system now works, part of what they receive, a small part they have to pay ordinary income tax on. but when it comes to managing other people's money, they pay
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capital gains. on a considerable portion of it. that is for managing other people's money. we should change that. host: so that's carried interest? guest: that's called carried interest. host: so a hedge fund manager, for example, pays 15% and whatever he makes from managing other people's money? guest: when he receives a small fee, he pays ordinary income tax. host: ok. guest: but when he -- when they sell something and get a major profit, even though it's for services provided, they pay a capital gains tax. we raised it to 20%, but there's a huge gap between 20% and 39.6%. and so they have a considerable advantage in having a capital gains tax and that's a loophole. we have some other loopholes where essentially people are shipping money overseas andress
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caping federal income tax and shipping their money to a place with no income tax or a very small part. by the way, it's not only the u.s. that's worried about this. so are european nations where the same phenomenon exists. you may have read that apple and others are now -- google i think -- but others in europe are now facing pressure. so is that famous coffee company. host: kathryn, staten island, independent caller. caller: thank you for the phone call. good morning, mr. levin. guest: nice to hear from you. how are things on the island? caller: ok. not so good. guest: the storm hit you. caller: not my side, but we're helping.
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for the budget, ok, you said the president put one out or two. i watch the debates all the time where it goes on. i don't see any percent of that. the only one i know was a vote on it. so, ok. so you tell me that one. i'll explain later. but the wastes that goes on of people's money, ok, when you have airports build and nobody flies, no planes there, when you have streets that you build in the middle of the desert and no cars going by, when you have -- on the trade mill, ok, why all the money? host: ok. congressman, what about waste? guest: we need to be very vigilant but i think we also need to be very frank about this. in the past, some people have
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run for office saying let's settle all problems through getting at waste, fraud and abuse. we need to do that, but no matter how well we perform, we have to go beyond it and tackle issues in a broad sense in addition to waste. look, i've been around for a few years. i any some agencies don't perform as well. i think, for example, the internal revenue service talking about fraud, need more resources to try to get at fraud in this country, people who don't pay their taxes. it is not a magic wand. it's an important wand. host: democratic caller. caller: hello, senator levin. guest: it is congressman. that's my brother, senator.
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we love it. caller: you are my favorite congressman. i watch you on c-span all the time. i hope people are listening to you, especially the president who needs to understand what's going on. he seems to be lost in his way of doing things. he thinks he can run the country, i believe, without the help of congress. i do not know what his problem is that you can't get people from congress to come up and talk with him unless he feels that he can use them somehow. host: all right. what are your thoughts on that, congressman? guest: i don't think really that's accurate. take gun control, another issue, you have a lot of clips, greta, on that subject. i mean, the president has consulted people broadly, including people in congress. he is working with us.
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he's going to present with the vice president some suggestions to us. he knows he has to work with us. he will perhaps use his executive powers where appropriate. but the president on this recent effort to try to resolve things without going over the cliff, there was a lot of back and forth between the president and the congress, between the president, greta, and the speaker. they may became close to an agreement. so i think this notion of a president who doesn't consult, who essentially goes his own way, really isn't accurate. let me just add in terms of the deficit, the ceiling we are now facing and essentially just going through the roof, i think the president
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is talking with us. he would like to talk to the republicans. but essentially republicans are saying in terms of the debt ceiling, let's not worry too much. i have one clip of one of my colleagues who says it's fraudulent or something like that, there really isn't a problem. there is a problem, putting the full faith and credit, greta, in jeopardy. those who are listening, that really is a serious problem. we've never really tried it, and for this country not to pay its bills, as the president made so clear, we're talking about bills that we in the congress voted for. it isn't new spending. it's paying for the spending that the congress of this country enacted and the president signed and what he's saying is to the congress, to the house republicans, look, it
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became part of the legislation of this country. you essentially gave bills and now you need to make sure they're paid. host: the chairman of the ways and means committee, dave camp, your colleague, is going to hold a hearing on january 22 about this. guest: tuesday. host: who will be testifying? who will you hear from? guest: they're just working on that and we're working together on who the witnesses will be. host: so who would you like to hear from? who do you want at the witness table? guest: ask me in a few hours because i will be talking to the staff and we'll make a decision, but i did talk to the chairman yesterday, greta, and i said to him, let's have some back and forth between the republicans and the democrats on this powerful committee as to who should testify. because i don't think the debt ceiling issue should become such a partisan issue.
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and i just appeal to the republicans who are having this retreat to realize that they should not place us in that kind of jeopardy. so there will be a hearing. we're going to work on witnesses today, settle them, and i hope the chairman and i will be resolving who will be the witnesses. they get the choice, the majority, but in this case i think there will be consternation as to who they pick and our choice. host: ok, all right. guest: we'll have one witness out of four. host: could it be secretary geithner? guest: no. host: do you think they'll call on him, the republicans? guest: no. host: tony, olive branch, mississippi. republican. hi, tony. caller: good morning. how you doing, senator? guest: where is olive branch? caller: it's down across the street from memphis, tennessee -- mississippi.
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guest: i've been across the bridge there. host: what's your question or comment? caller: my deal is when you talk about congress and everybody is looking at discretionary spending, i beg it differ. we're funding the rhino but we can't take care of grandma. we're rebuilding mosques over in other foreign countries and yet little martha has to worry about her dad losing her dad and being out on the street and being homeless. we're not cutting we should be cutting. we send money to countries in south america and other places to improve their water system. so think about pipe in china and equipment in other countries and say, we'll do the labor. the government is sending more money overseas that should be
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cut. host: all right, tony, we'll get a response. guest: i don't know the last figure -- i tell everybody i once ran -- helped to run the foreign aid agency of this country in the carter years, and we do have foreign assistance. but it's a very small part of our budget. and we do have a concern for what goes on in other countries. i don't think we're giving money to build mosques. it may be true that we are providing money for water projects in other countries because we have a stake in the stability of other countries. i mean, look what's happening -- take afghanistan. i was just talking to my brother -- somebody mentioned senator levin, my brother. he just came back from afghanistan. we're now reducing our forces there appropriately.
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we have spent considerable amounts of money there, including some programs relating to conditions within afghanistan because we have a stake. al qaeda essentially was based there and we saw what happened when they did essentially whatever they wanted to do. we had to address the conditions there, but in a reasonable way withdrawing our troops, and i agree with the caller, if you're still on the line, very much. we have to worry about our conditions at home. we have to worry about jobs. look, i come from michigan. am i worried about jobs? why did i fight to maintain a domestic auto industry? so that the cars weren't essentially made elsewhere or by companies that were not based in the u.s. i felt fiercely about this, and we stood up and said the domestic auto industry is a key to the continued prosperity of
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this country. so i think the record of people like myself is very clear. we need to focus like a laser beam on jobs in the united states of america. and we've been coming back under this administration. i was just listening to n.p.r. they're having a program about the last year. and when the president came into his presidency, we lost 700,000 jobs the first month. 700,000 in a month, greta? so it's getting better but we have a ways to go. host: roger in michigan, independent caller. caller: yeah, good morning. i just wanted to make a comment . who put us into this debt? by increasing the spending with congress, by carrying on the way you guys do. i don't understand how you guys can pass a bill knowing we
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don't have the money, ok, to pay for it and then you add it to the debt which we have to pay nor. i'm a true independent. i went from a $77,000 a year job down to $8 an hour working 19 hours a week. now you guys -- you know, you spend money and we send it all over the country. ok. all over the world. but yet you're not taking care of the problems at loam because you guys keep the debt up day in and day out. host: ok. guest: let me say hello to a constituent because i represent him. i very much identify the thrust of your question and that is you went from a job that very much placed you in the middle class. i don't know you personally. but so many people in warren, it's the third largest city in the state, and the auto industry is so important.
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it has epitomized the growth of the middle class in this country. so we need to pay attention to that, but it's not true that one party or another is responsible for the rising debt in this country. i'm on the ways and means committee. the republicans passed bill after bill and never paid for it. we had flirtation with cutting taxes for the very wealthy as well as the middle class. and the argument was that that will work the bush tax cuts and they will essentially pay for themselves. it turned out that's not true, that did not happen. and the republicans never paid for any of this. so the debt, under president bush ii, i think grew $3
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trillion. i think it's something that's all of our business, all of us. host: going to try to get in two more phone calls for you. george in rockford, tennessee. democratic caller. caller: hello. host: hi, george. guest: hi, george. caller: how we doing? guest: i think ok. caller: well, you know, i'm 79 years old. old truck driver. long haul for 45 years. worked in construction before that for a short time. but anyway, i've never in my life had to draw unemployment. i was fortunate enough always in the trucking business, you can always get a job. i raised my kids, all three of them are gone now. they paid into social security all the time, they worked and never drew a dime of it.
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the youngest one will be 68 years old -- or 60 -- 62 if he was still alive. he'd been dead for 20 years. host: george, i apologize for jumping in but i need a question or comment because we're running out of time here with the congressman. . caller: my question is, you know, everybody talks about taxes. it's don't tax me and don't tax me, tax that fella hind the tree. it's always the lower-end people. in order to make $250,000 a year, which they always keep sticking up, you have to make $5,000 a week. and i don't think i ever made $50,000 in one year. jorge: all right. i'm going to leave it at that point and have the congressman respond.
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gar: i think the gentleman raises an issue. the middle class of this country has essentially had on average a rather stagnant wage. while the very wealthy, on average, the last years have done very well. i mentioned 2010. over 90% of income gregget went to the top 1% -- growth went to the top 1%. so, we in this country have to make a decision. is it everybody on their own? or everybody must pull their weight but we're still a community? host: on twitter -- guest: i think maybe once. but i have voted for many, many, many times and i never have voted to use it as a
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weapon. i never have used it essentially saying to this country, we cannot -- we don't have to pay our bills and we can shatter the full faith and credit of the united states. host: coming up next, the chairman of the judiciary committee, bob goodlatte, gun control policy. can an assault weapons ban make it through congress? guest: i think it's 50-50. i think other provisions clearly can. the provisions are magazines, more thorough checks, people who buy guns at gun shows, i think there need to be checks. we need to look at mental health services. but we can't use any factor as a reason not to do things more comprehensively. let me just give you my own feeling. i think we need to address violence in this country. i think if any family lost as
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they did in connecticut it would become energized and determined. we have to act as if each of us lost a child from someone who just used weapons and the reason for the use is probably complicated. but part of it was probably his mental condition. part of it was his easy access to these weapons. easy access to weapons that aren't necessary for hunting or for recreational purposes. we need to do better in this country. host: congressman, thank you very much. all out of time. appreciate you talking to our viewers this morning. guest: as always, it's a pleasure. c-span is an indispensable part of the back and forth in this country. when i think of its history over the years, you're indispensable.
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> next we take you live to capitol hill where the house democratic steering and policy committee will be meeting to hear testimony about gun violence prevention. the house is out for the rest of the week. republicans are on their legislative retreat. williamsburg, virginia, and house democrats holding this briefing, this meeting, to hear from people like michael nutter, the mayor of philadelphia. also dr. janet robinson who is the superintendent at schools in newtown, connecticut. it should be gaveling in shortly. democratic leader nancy pelosi will lead. you'll also hear from congresswoman rosa delauro of connecticut who is one of the co-chairs of the steering and policy committee. you're watching live coverage here on c-span. also, following the meeting here of the policy committee, we're going to show you president obama's comments from earlier today and his proposals on gun violence that he announced at the white house. there's leader pelosi about to get under way here on c-span.
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>> on the screen, michael nutter, mayor of philipp delve yarks and one of several folks who will testify this afternoon before the democratic is steering and policy committee about gun violence. also you'll hear from the superintendent of schools in newtown, connecticut. president obama releasing his proposals on gun violence earlier this afternoon. we'll show that to you after this meeting of democrats and you can also see the president's announcement on our website at c-span.org. >> good afternoon, everyone. thank you all very much for joining us on this very solemn and important occasion for the american people. just over one month ago our nation was shocked and horrified by the news of the
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shooting at sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. 20 children, six teachers and educators were taken from us at gun point. an act of senseless and incomprehensible violence struck at the heart of our families, of our schools, of our communities across the country. earlier this month, shortly after newtown, all members of congress took an oath to protect and defend the constitution and the american people. to protect and defend. that is our first responsibility. today leaders of the house democratic caucus have come together to fulfill that duty, to confront the challenge of gun violence in our society, to enact, to ensure the safety and security of our communities. under the leadership of
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congressman john -- congressman thompson, mike thompson, our gun violence prevention task force keeps growing in number. our colleagues are submitting recommendations for legislation, the task force is working with outside organizations and sharing the latest information on gun violence and steps we can take and must take to end it. today, to strengthen the efforts of this task force and our democratic caucus, we will hear from americans with personal and professional experiences with gun violence. and with critical expertise on how and why we must protect it. it's really an emotional occasion for many here. we thank them for sharing their grief to help other people be safe, to sharing their experience to help us all honor our oath of office. our witnesses hail from every walk of life. education, academia, law
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enforcement and public service. we are extraordinarily grateful to have with us dr. janet robinson, superintendent of schools of newtown, connecticut. dr. emily knottingham, mother of gabe zimmerman, who you know was a victim in tucson nearly two years ago. chief scott knight, police department. you're from minnesota, to give us a view from middle america, from rural areas. and mayor michael nutter, president of the u.s. conference of mayors who has been a leader on this issue for a very long time. your voices and your contributions are playing a critical role in our effort to take these long overdue actions. we look forward to hearing your ideas and testimony and answering the call to action on gun violence prevention. we are especially pleased to be doing so on a day when our president, as we continue to mourn with the families of
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newtown, has told us that the time for action is now. we must do everything in our power to stop such terrifying violence in the future. we recognize these challenges are not new and as president obama said so eloquently in the days following the shooting, we can't tolerate this anymore. these tragedies must end and to end them we must change, he said. and today the president put his proposals on the table. he outlined 23 executive actions, his administration is taking right now. he demanded action from congress on establishing universal background check system, restore the ban on assault weapons, banning high-capacity assault magazines, putting more police officers on our streets. we must address issues of mental health, keep weapons out of the hands of those in danger of doing harm to themselves or
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to others. these commonsense proposals among others represent steps we can take and must take right away to put a stop to the violence. as the president said today, this time must be different. we agree. we cannot permit any more time to go by without action. we owe it to the families of the victims in newtown and aurora, oak creek, tucson, virginia tech, columbine, the list goes on, almost every day across our country and shootings across america. i'm very pleased to turn the meeting now over to the co-chairs of our steering and policy committee, congresswoman rosa delauro and congressman rob andrews, pleased to be joined by our chair of the judiciary committee, congressmanon conyers, and the chair of our gun violence prevention task force, congressman mike thompson. we thank you, mike, for your leadership and we are also
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joined by our distinguished whip, steny hoyer. with that i'm going to yield to steny for a moment and then to our co-chairs. >> i thank you very much, madam leader. chairman andrews on the steering committee for scheduling this. obviously critically and very timely hearing. i look forward to hearing from the witnesses. clearly all of us, as the president indicated, in his talk today and presentation of his program and signing of executive orders, we all feel the urgency of responding to the dangers that our communities confront. with the distribution of guns and large-capacity magazines and with the status of our mental health observations of folks who ought not to have guns and to make sure that we know who is getting weapons of great danger to our community.
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so i appreciate the witnesses and i welcome them and it is obviously an extraordinarily timely hearing. witnessed the attendance and interest of the media and the public. so thank you very much for being here. thank you, madam leader. >> chairwoman delauro. >> thank you very much, madam leader. it's a privilege for me to welcome all of you and i want to say a thank you to the leader for calling this hearing. i'm also pleased to join rob andrews, co-chair of the steering and policy committee, and my other colleagues here today. i want to say a thank you to the distinguished panel for taking time to join with us and in fact it is such a distinguished panel and let me just for a moment, i want to personally thank and acknowledge all of you, but i have to say a welcome to our visitor from connecticut, superintendent janet robinson of newtown. the public school system. and i know that janet has been
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working with families, children, teachers, first responders and an unbelievable organization, the child center in new haven along with ways to help people work through this tragedy with their students. i look forward to hearing more about this and to the testimony. last month at sandy hook, a place where children should be safe to learn and to grow, the incomprehensible actions of a young man suddenly devastated a smalltown community. six adults, 20 innocent children, all of them between 6 and 7 years old were murdered in cold blood. we have seen similar acts of terror and evil in aroar o'and portland, in oakland and tucson, all across our country. and we see the loss of life every day from gun violence all across this nation. after the unthinkable tragedy in newtown, president obama spoke to the country and he asked us, are we doing enough
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to protect our children? the answer he admitted is no. and that must change. that is why we are here today. in today's hearing we'll hear from people who deal with the effects of gun violence every day. the wide range of experience and expertise from these panelists will facilitate a discussion on a commonsense and constructive step that we must take to ensure these sorts of tragedies will never happen again. i have a letter from the teachers of newtown which i will enter into the record but i will just share with you one sentence and it reads in our schools, we need to strike the right balance to ensure that schools are nurturing while also safe. and we need to strike the right balance so that schools do not become armed fortresses where kids are unable to be kids. the voice of educators is critical to ensuring that we find and maintain this balance between safety and learning. as we move forward during this difficult time, collaboration, communication, valuing the
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voice and experience of all the members of our community, teachers, educators, law enforcement officials, the affected families, will be essential to making our schools and our streets safer, stronger and more united. that's why we are here today. to prevent another sandy hook. we'll all have to work together to end gun violence. i hope we can continue that conversation today and how best to accomplish this and make our children safer. thank you. >> i'd like to thank our leader and my co-chair and my colleagues for this honor. we come to this room today from many different places and many different rounds -- backgrounds. the last few months we have seen too many of our fellow countrymen gunned down on the streets of american towns and cities every day. i represent a city of 80,000 people. had 70 homicided last year. we've seen our neighbors die in shopping malls and movie
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theaters, college campuses and horrificically, 31 days ago, an elementary school. we are bonded together in this room today by one common conviction. and that is our belief that this is not inevitable. we can make choices to stop this from happening again. we believe that consistent with good medical practice we can improve our mental health systems so that people who are demonized and tortured can get help. we believe that consistent with good law enforcement practice we can make our schools and our campuses and our public places safe in a responsible way. and, yes, we believe that consistent with the second amendment to the constitution of the united states and consistent with the commonsense of the american people, that we can pass a law that makes it so that no one can own a gun that can fire 30 bullets in 30 seconds. and that no one who is already
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prove than they are a risk to society will have the opportunity to buy any gun at all. we look forward to the perspective of the witnesses on these very pressing questions. i thank our colleagues and i now know we're going to hear from the ranking member on our sibbyary committee, mr. conyers -- on our judiciary committee, mr. conyers. >> thank you so much. it's important that we recognize that the president of the united states, the vice president of the united states, our leader pelosi here in the congress and all of the members assembled here are committed to deal for the very first time with this horrible gun violence that is going on and deal with it in a meaningful way.
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and so i thank all of the witnesses for being here. i join with all my colleagues in the very importance of this matter. we have at least five members of the house judiciary committee here and i just want to close with this one point that has now become important. and that is addressing the mental health crisis in our country. in which so many people suffer from some form of a mental problem. and so i applaud you all for being here and look forward to this very important call to action. >> thank you, mr. conyers. i'd like to introduce the chair of the task force in the house of representatives, mike thompson of california.
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>> thank you very much, madam chair. leader pelosi, thank you for organizing today's hearing. thank you to all the witnesses who came to share in your expertise and your experiences with us. as a hunter and a gun owner, i believe we should protect law-abiding individuals' second amendment rights to own a firearm. as a dad and a grandfather i also believe that we have a very important responsibility to make sure that our schools, our streets and our communities are safe. and i know we can do both. one thing's real clear. now's the time for action. there's too much gun violence and there's no set of laws that will end the horrific shootings and senseless acts of violence, but that's no excuse for sitting around and doing nothing. the time's now. as the chair of the gun violence prevention task force, i'm working on a comprehensive approach to reduce gun violence. i've met with everybody. republicans, democrats, gun right groups, gun safety
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groups, mental health experts, ed catecational leaders, people from -- educational leaders, people from the video game and movie industry, hunting and sportsman groups, law enforcement leaders and the vice president of the united states of america and with my constituents. we know this is a complex issue and in order to make any meaningful progress it's going to take a complex solution. but every idea needs to be on the table and everyone needs to be at that table in order for us to be successful. so thank you all for coming today. i thank my colleagues for coming with your ideas. there's some great ideas out there. and i know that working together we can protect -- we can put public policy in place that will make our communities safer and at the same time protect law-abiding americans' rights to own a firearm. thank you. >> the evidence of the pervasiveness of this problem that many people in this room
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have felt that their own lives, the heavy burden of the pain associated with this issue. one we're going to hear from is representative mccarthy from new york. >> thank you and i thank everybody for being here. you know, each time a shooting, especially over the last -- i've been working on this issue for 18 years now, and everybody thinks that this closure -- there's closure for victims. there's never closure for the victims. it never goes away. and every time there's a shooting each and every one of us go through that moment when the tragedy happened to our family. my husband died but my son was severely injured, left paralyzed. and it was during that time that he was learning how to speak again, he asked me why and i didn't have the answer. and i'm saying this because it's grassroots people like us that unfortunately went through
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this tragedy. and that we're the ones that wanted to do the best we can to make sure no other family goes through what we've already gone through. many here have already experienced that. i will say that this is the first time in a long, long time since president clinton that i actually have real hope that we can get something done to save lives. it's been a tough battle. and i would say to so many of the victims out there, there are times when we lose faith. there are times when we kind of want to give up. and all i can say is we can't give up. and the shootings have only gotten worse and there are things we could have done so many years ago that could have prevented so many of these killings. not only the mass killings, it's also the shootings that happen every single day. since what happened in connecticut, with those children and the teachers, 900
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people have died from gun violence. i keep count. i keep count. because it's going to be up to all of us to try to talk to some of our members on both sides of the aisle, that we as americans will stand with them if they stand with us in trying to reduce gun violence. they do not have to be afraid of the radical n.r.a. and i say that because there are many gun owners in this country that are good citizens and they should not be tagged with some of these atrocities that are happening. and it's those that we have to call upon to reach out to their members of congress, throughout this country. because we are here to do the right thing. the president and the vice president are there to do the right thing. and they're going to use their office. but if we as americans don't also raise our voice, then this
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will begin another losing battle. we cannot afford to lose another battle. we have commonsense issues to stop gun violence but when it comes down to it, the assault weapons, large magazines that were made for our police officers and our military have no right to be on the street. and they do not. and i will say to you, as our leader has said, we are all -- reyou will -- we all take the oath of the constitution of the united states. we have never tried to infringe on that, to legal gun owners. and the package that our coalition, which agrees with the president and the vice president, can make a difference. we know we can't save every single life. i was a nurse for many years before i came here. and the best of the best
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couldn't save every single life. but that doesn't mean that we couldn't try to make sure that we did as much as we could to save those lives. that is what we're fighting for . and it's heartening to see everybody here and it was so heartening to see people this morning at the white house that really care about this issue and have been fighting this issue for longer than me. victims that i haven't seen in 10 and 15 years. still out there fighting. we can make a difference. because this time it is different. it is different because those children, those children are an example of what happens daily in this country and it has to stop. we're americans. we're better than that. we are better than that. and we cannot allow a group, a
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small minority of this country, to stop us from doing the right thing. thank you. [applause] >> now give me great pleasure to introduce a newly elected colleague from connecticut who will introduce our first witness and that is congresswoman elizabeth espy from connecticut no whose district sandy hook elementary school resides. and what we will do is have all of the various members introduce our witnesses and then we will proceed with the testimony. congresswoman esty. >> thank you so much to my good friend, rosa delauro. and thank you to all of you for
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being here with us today. as witnesses to what happened in our community of newtown, connecticut, and as a call to action for what we must do as a country. i'm honored today to have the chance to introduce janet robinson who has become a good friend, who is a true american hero, who responded in a time of unbelievable tragedy. for five years dr. janet robinson has served as the superintendent of schools in newtown, connecticut. throughout her career she has shown a constant and loving commitment to education and improving the lives of children. in addition to having served as superintendent of schools in three different connecticut communities, janet has served as a teacher, a school counselor and a school psychologist. i met janet in the fire house which was the emergency center of newtown, connecticut, on the afternoon of the shootings.
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janet was grieving, she was there with parents of children who didn't know if their children were going to come home. and as we know, 20 of them did not. and the next morning this brave woman sat around a conference table with the board of ed members of her community and began planning for how to protect those children and those families. how to reopen a school and get children back to learning. she is an extraordinarily person. she was putting sandy hook community first, the teachers, the children and those families. and thinking about it, she did it all the time with her heart broken for her friend who were cut down on that terrible day. janet, i know you will provide invaluable expertise to us in today's hearing. you're an expert on children, on teaching, but most importantly, and for our purposes today, you are an expert on the price of
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inaction. you are an expert because newtown has paid this price. your children paid this price. your teachers paid this price. your administrator paid this price and the community paid a price. you speak with unquestionable authority on that subject. you've lived what has happened when we as political leaders don't act. you can speak to us here today on who these people were, tell us about dawn hochsprung, the extraordinarily principal and leader of that school. these incredible children, three of -- several of whose parents came today at the president's announcement. who these aides were, who these families are. and the extraordinary community that you are a member of. what we need to do here today and with your help and guidance, you need to help us about how to prevent tragedy, about how to save live, how to ensure that no other community endures what newtown,
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connecticut, has gone through. what happens now, we could not prevent what happened then but we can go forward. this is about what happens now. i want to thank you for your extraordinary leadership and courage in your community and in coming here today. thank you so very much. >> our next introducer is someone who bears both the physical and emotional scars of this issue. he stood by the side of our colleague, gabby giffords, on the day of that horrific event in arizona. he has stood by her ever since. now he occupies her seat. congressman rob barber of arizona. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, madam leader, for bringing us together. to hear from this panel. and to reflect on what we as a nation can do. to prevent any kind of reoccurrence. it's my honor today to introduce emily knottingham.
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she's from tucson. emily and i have known each other for a long time blings even before i knew her son. she worked for 30 years in the city of tucson as an administrator for affordable housing, community development and social services and held that position until her retirement not too long ago. beyond that she is active in many community organizations and i'm very proud to say she was one of the first people to join the advisory board for the -- [inaudible], an organization that my family and i established shortly after the shooting in tucson. she's also an outdoors person, as was her son, and is on the board of the arizona trail association and many other nonprofits. she's also the proud mother of two young men, ben and gabe zimmerman. when i was district director for congresswoman giffords, gabe was a first person we hired. he was my transition buddy.
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we worked in a small office. i called it an office. gabe called it a closet. but it was a place where we put together the management of congresswoman giffords' staff and offices early on. he was my go-to guy. a young man with such compassion and caring that it's just beyond me to think that he's no longer with us. he learned about this from his mother. she served, as i said, for many years people with can disadvantages in our community. it was gabe who set up the congressman on your corner that day and he was killed at that event. he died right beside me. as i lay after being shot myself. i will never, ever forget the image of gabe dying by my side. i know for certain that his
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last action was to come and try to help us, help congresswoman giffords, help me, help judge john roll and before doing -- and for doing that he was shot. some of us here in congress meet regularly in a room that is named in his honor. the gabe zimmerman room. and every time i go there for meetings i remember this young man. his mother has been very active since. she's always been active in our community, but particularly active since the tragedy in to youton. she is willing and able to speak at any number of events and has done so to lend her personal understanding of what it means to lose a son in a tragedy like this. he was shot with a glock, with a clip or a magazine, i should say, that had 33 bullets in it. and i know we need to do
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something about that. i noemly wants to do something about it as well. so it's my great honor to welcome emily knottingham to hear her testimony this afternoon. thank you. >> i'll hear from our colleague, keith ellison. >> thank you, madam chair. and madam leader. on behalf of my colleague, betty mccollum and i, i am privileged to introduce scott knight who was the chief of police of minnesota. but i would be very remiss if i did not mention that the mayor of the city of minneapolis is here with us. and also my -- miaa rahimam who lost her father in an act of gun violence not for than a few months ago. thank you all for being here. chief scott knight started his career with the police department in 1976 and has been a police chief since 2000.
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the city of cashka is located only a short distance from the twin cities. chief knight was appointed to the international association of chiefs of police executive committee and served as chair of the iacp firearms committee from 2005 to 2012. he's been a leader in law enforcement's fight against gun violence and law enforcement is a key constituency if we are going to bring this spate of gun violence under control. chief knight has also not only been a leader to fight against gun violence but also violence against officers and illegal gun trade. in 2010 the iacp joined nine other major law enforcement organizations to form the national law enforcement partnership to prevent gun violence. chief knight was chairman of the partnership during his
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first year. in 2008 chief knight received a minnesota chiefs of police association's presidents award for his work on gun violence and other safety issues and an officer safety issues as well. he has testified before congress before and is an expert in this area and we're very pleased to greet you here today, chief. thank you. >> our final introducer is my friend and neighbor from the city of philadelphia, congressman shacka fattah. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we are about to celebrate the life and legacy of dr. king and we are reminded that on that balcony at the larrain motel in memphis he was shot down and for president reagan or president kennedy who were both shot, one killed and one almost fatally wounded, we are reminded here in washington all the time of the dangers of guns. that's buy all of you went through the security -- that's
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why all of you went through the security protections to come into this building. the supreme court has ruled that everyone has a right to bear arms, also makes it clear you can't bring them into the supreme court. so, that because we actually know that guns are dangerous. and that -- so as much as people may proclaim one thing, you have to look at the actions and on the floor of the house we saw members shot down once. that's why we have bulletproof things and other kinds of protections. mayor nutter is someone who, as someone growing inin west philadelphia, the best place in the world to grow up in, has a former councilman and now as a second-term mayor of our city, in so many respects america's mayor now. he's the president of the u.s. congress of mayors, but we work ed together on gun buybacks but he's had to counsel families, police officers have been killed, young children in our city. and so as much as we might
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think about famous people who have been shot, there are literally dozens of children, over 50 a day, shot every day in our country. and it's good to see you and the great work of the mayors against illegal guns. there's so much more that could be said. but it's much more important that we hear from the witnesses. i want to welcome my friend and the leader of the united states conference of mayors here today and we await his testimony. thank you. >> thank you, colleagues. we're honored by each of your presence and we'd like to begin with a woman of incredible character and courage, dr. janet robinson. >> thank you very much. i'm here to give a face to the children, the staff, the families of sandy hook. in newtown, connecticut. on a beautiful winter morning in december, buses dropped off their precious cargo. nearly 500 elementary children who filed in their school with
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the expectations of all little children that good things will be happening today. and little in the way of cares. maybe what's for lunch today. will i have a chance to play with my friends at recess? in the first three classrooms in the front hallway, the little first graders' coasts were hung up and the morning routines began with their circle time on the rug with their teacher. there they discussed the cam der, the activities of the day, along with an activity for response in classroom. this was a typical routine of sandy hook elementary school. a place that exudes caring, happiness, nurturing from the moment you walk through the doors. if you pass a child or an adult in the hall you'll get a smile and a cheerful greeting. you know you are in a kid place immediately. sandy hook elementary school seemed like the safest place on
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earth in this quiet little suburban community. this school has been known for the superb education that students receive for over 50 years and has been acknowledged as a van guard school. not only has it been a high-achieving school, but its tradition of caring about the whole child is well known and part of that tradition. this school is an important piece of the fabric of this community. that morning was like every other morning. after all, routines are comforting for kids. until about 9:30 when a troubled young man carrying two guns, one of them an ar-15 assault rife shot out the -- rifle shot out the glass window to bypass the buzz-in system at the door and changed the lives of so many people in the next few minutes. he first pointed to the office directly across from the front door where normally three secretaries would be working. only one was there at the time and she flew under a desk
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dragging the phone with her. fortunately he didn't check. then he went back out in the hall where he was confronted by the principal, dawn hochsprung, the lead teacher, natalie ham obbed, and the school psychologist -- hammond, and the school psychologist who emerged from a meeting in a conference room. i can just picture dawn's indignation that someone would dare enter her school and put her babies at risk. it would be so like her to be the protective mother henne and never think of her own safety but only of course of making him stop right then and there. i can visualize her trying to take charge of this unthinkable threat. dawn, ever the passionate educator, would do anything to protect her charges. that's where they found the bodies of dawn and mary rushing toward the attacker. natalie fortunately survived the attack with serious injuries. the shooter bypassed the first grade classroom on the left and began shooting in the second
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first grade classroom. killing the school's permanent substitute teacher, lauren rizzo. and also but one child who was clever enough to play dead. and didn't even whimper. by this time the teacher in the third room had crammed as many children as possible in the bathroom, was trying to find hiding places for the others. when the teacher took aim on her and her students. vickie soto, who was so excited to finally reach her cream to be a teacher, -- dream to be a teacher, threw herself in front of her students. such incredible bravery from a young first grade teacher. anne marie murphy was the educational assistant for a young boy with some special needs and she died trying to shield him. as was the case with rachel devinow, a behavior therapist -- davino, a behavior therapist. none of these brave women were trained in combat. they were elementary school educators dedicated to educating their young children. so their first response when
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confronted by this terror was to protect their children. thank goodness for our first responders. they arrived in three minutes which is incredible in a town of 60 square miles, mainly country roads. they saved imnumerable lives as the shooter carried enough ammunition to have continued throughout the entire school. and this loving little elementary school was helpless in the face of this assault. 20 beautiful and innocent learn first graders were lost that day in a senseless act. they were no match for a troubled person with an ar-15. at the fire house where we had all gathered to try to sort through the events of the day, the true horror of the assault began to become apparent as parents came running, crying to the station, looking for their children. as we released children to their parents, we began to realize we didn't have enough children. there were parents without
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children. it was then that i was beginning to realize the magnitude of this horror. six dedicated educators were lost, including a phenomenal principal, dawn hochsprung. who took over the leadership of sandy hook 2 1/2 years ago. she was an experienced principal whose passion for this important work was immediately evident. she had a vast knowledge of good instruction and coached her already effective teachers to stretch even further for excellence. she truly enjoyed being an elementary principal and joined in all the fun of the elementary school with gustow. whatever theme day the school was celebrating, she was all in. she might show up at a district administrator's meeting in pajamas or fuzzy slippers or dress like a fairy princess. the students knew that she liked to have fun as part of the learning. yet she was serious about ensuring that every child had a highly effective teacher. she, along with her colleagues, lost that day -- colleagues lost that day, represent a huge loss to the futures of all
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those children they would have impacted in their professional lives. now, we as a community are struggling to pick up the pieces and determine what this new normal looks and feels like. our sense of security has been shattered. innocent children and the people who teach them were gunned down. we are all forever changed. some families have a huge hole. families with children are still suffering through the nightmares and fears of sounds and strangers. children who were even fearful in their own classrooms. who know what is the long-term impact will be for those children who have had the innocence of childhood shattered. what do i say to the parents who want to be assured that when they put their children on the bus to school they will come home? how do i protect our students
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without creating for tre -- fortresses? how do we let our children freely enjoy being children? i have heard that the measure of a society is how they treat their children. so help me get these children their futures. i would just like to share with you as one final thought a fourth grade student, congresswoman pelosi, sent you a letter and her name is ava. and she says, i am a fourth grade student in newtown, connecticut. after the shooting in my town i start an online petition to change the gun laws. it depot a lot of support from all over america but then i had to take it down because the police were worried about my safety. what everyone in newtown wants is for you to ban semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity magazines and to make everyone use guns safely. this is important so that a person cannot shoot many people at once and/or injure people badly. semi-automatic weapons and
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large-capacity magazines have put lives at risk. this ban will help prevent individuals, families and communities from suffering the way we are now in newtown. in newtown's municipal center there are hundreds of thousands of cards and pictures from children and adults from all over america. so it's sad. i think the people should -- against changing gun laws should walk through the long hallway and read one card out of every box to realize how many people want this change. we would all appreciate anything you can do to help. sincerely, ava s. this is some of the thousands and thousands of cards and letters that are gathered in the hall. it just shows the support and the feeling among the people in this country. thank you for doing what you're doing here. [applause]
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>> dr. robinson, that deeply wounded community is so fortunate to have a person of your strength and character to guide. we are so thankful that you're with us here today and moved by what you said. >> thank you. >> the mayor of philadelphia, the president of the conference of mayors, is there any other mayors with you that you'd like to acknowledge? i understand mayor coleen marr of new jersey is here. mayor, welcome. [applause] and if there's others, mayor, feel free to do that. welcome, mayor nutter. >> leader pelosi and chairman delauro, chairman andrews and all the members of the house democratic steering and policy committee, let me first say you make me very proud.
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i'm very proud of the opportunity to be with you and more importantly that you have taken the time to try to address these issues. i'm michael a. nutter, mayor of the city of philadelphia. president of the u.s. conference of mayors. we are joined by a number of -- is there still a -- that one down there. >> the chief's microphone? maybe that would work. >> we are joined today by a number of mayors. i know i saw earlier mayor ryback, mayor warren and a number of us are also members of the organization mayors against illegal guns.
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which has provided tremendous leadership by mayors bloomberg and manino. and to all the mayors who are here, thank you for your leadership as well. i am honored to appear before you this afternoon on behalf of the u.s. conference of mayors to discuss with you the views of the nation's mayors. on what we must do to reduce gun violence in this nation and to make our cities an towns, our street, our schools, our theaters, our places of worship, safer places for all of our people. again and again and again americans have been stunned by senseless violence and acts of violence involving guns. december 14, 2012, tragedy targeting young children in newtown remains incomprehensible. too many times during the last year mayors have expressed
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shock at a mass shooting. even more frequently most -- many of us must cope with gun violence that occurs on the streets of our cities every day. the u.s. conference of mayors has been calling for sensible gun laws to protect the public for more than 40 years. mayors and police chiefs from cities of all sizes have worked together in this effort for decades. we have done this because of the tremendous toll which gun violence takes on the american public day in and day out. let me share some additional numbers with you. every year in america more than 100,000 people are shot. 37,000 -- 37,537 of them die, including 11,583 who are murdered.
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every year 18,000 children and teenagers are shot. 2,829 of them die, including 1,888 who are murdered. every day in america 282 people are shot and 86 of them die including 32 who are murdered. every day 50 children and teens are shot and eight of them die including five who are murdered. if this was disease, killing that many people, if this were accidents killing that many people, if this were bags of tainted spinach killing that many people this country would immediately take swift action
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to stop that kind of death toll . but somehow some seemingly paralyzed when it comes to guns and violence, but i would only repeat what congresswoman mccarthy said. this time is different and it must be. gun violence disproportionately affects urban areas. our 50 largest metro areas have 662 center cities -- 62 center cities and these account citis account for 15% of the population -- cities account for 15% of the population but 39% of gun-related murders and 23% of total homicides. philadelphia, like many major cities, has struggled to control gun violence for years. however, despite our recent success at employing more effective policing technique, death due to gun violence have not dramatically fallen.
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let me use one set of statistics to illustrate this point. last year the number of shooting victims in philadelphia was 1,282. this is actually down considerably from the year before. and was the lowest number since we began tracking shooting victims in 2000. however, the number of homicides was actually slightly up last year. 331. seven more than the previous year. how are these two statistics possible? the answer is that the homicide victims have more bullets killing them. or to put it another way, there are more rounds being fired and more intentional head shots. so despite better policing when someone in philadelphia is shot, unfortunately they may be more likely to die, even though
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there are fewer shooting victims. we have an 11% increase last year in philadelphia in head shots. we had a 30% increase in the number of bullets found at scenes measuring more than 20 rounds at a location. let me note that pennsylvania does not have stringent gun restrictions. and when the city of philadelphia adopted stricter gun laws a few years ago, the state supreme court struck some of those laws down. that is why we need federal legislation. comprehensive, commonsense federal legislation for all of us to be safe. [applause] cities alone cannot reduce gun violence by themselves.
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we are doing everything that we can, but still losing the battle thanks to the proliferation of guns in our nation. philadelphia story is not unique. mayors everywhere struggle with gun violence, using scarce city resources to fight it. resources which we should be using to educate our children, create jobs for our residents and revitalize our cities. in an open letter to the president and the congress, sent just three days after the newtown massacre, we urged immediate action and over 200 mayors signed on a to -- on to that letter. we called on the president to exercise his power through executive order and the congress to introduce and pass legislation to make reasonable changes in our gun laws and regulations. specifically we called on congress to, one, enact legislation to ban assault weapons and other high-capacity magazines, that is now being
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prepared by senator feinstein and many others. two, strengthen the national background check system and eliminate loopholes in that system. and, three, strengthen the penalties for straw purchases of guns. today, of course, president barack obama and vice president biden released the administration's plan to reduce gun violence, both through new legislation and executive action. i was honored to be at the white house earlier today for that release and i can tell you that the administration clearly listened closely to the recommendations which the mayors have offered. the nation's mayors urge the congress to give that report full consideration and to move swiftly forward on the legislative action that it requires. we know that preventing gun violence, whether it is mass shootings in a school or a murder on a street corner, will take much more than just strengthening our gun laws. we need to reverse the culture of violence in our nation so
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that violent acts are not the first response of settling a difference or compensating for a wrong. we need to strengthen and more adequately fund our mental health system so we can identify troubled individuals earlier and get them the help that they need. lastly, in addition to -- in addition, i personally support the creation of a national commission on domestic terrorism, violence and crime in america. . it would examine the issues of violent crime and prevention and look at what government can do on a local, state, and national level to prevent attacks such as those we witnessed in newtown, aurora, tucson and virginia tech. yesterday, as mayor of philadelphia, i also announced and put forward for our city something i refer to now as the sandy hook principles.
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these principles are a call to action for corporations to heed the basic core values of american citizens in promoting the health, safety, and well being of our communities. the objective of these is to establish a baseline standard for responsible conduct of their business. as i share these principles with many other mayors from around the country, we expect to be reviewing and discussing them in the days ahead. let me be very clear, however. strengthening our gun laws should not have to wait for any of these other actions to occur. the time for action is now. the nation's mayors plan to work with you to build a safer america for our children and for all of our citizens. lastly, let me say this as a father. i find it reprehensible,
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disgusting and outside the bounds of human dignity that the n.r.a. would place an add on television -- an ad on television attacking president obama's daughters -- [applause] even in this at times outrageous business of politics in which we are engaged, we must have the sense not to attack the families and children of those involved in public service. the n.r.a. has struck an incredibly new low in public discourse and the ad should be removed immediately. [applause] that ad has no place in the legitimate dialogue that must take place in order to make this country safer for all of us,
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especially our children. thank you. >> thank you, mayor, for your powerful testimony. ms. nottingham, your son personified the selflessness of public service that so many staff people who come here to serve our country do. we're very proud of him. and we choose to continue his legacy of public service. we are happy today that you are here to share your thoughts with us. welcome. >> thank you for having me. it's fitting that we're holding this meeting near the gabe zimmerman room. gabe was my son and a staffer who worked with your colleague, gabrielle giffords. on january 8, 2011, a man armed with high capacity magazines and a semiautomatic weapon he purchased at a big box store shot the congresswoman and turned on the people in line to
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see her he murdered six, including my son, and injured 13 people, including congressman ron barber with 31 bullets before trying to reload his magazine. only then did citizen heroes have time to tackle him to the ground and disarm him. on that day, those people, including a 9-year-old girl not much older than the children killed in newtown, were exercising their right, the right to freedom of assembly. the right to freedom of speech. they were trying to be good citizens, participating in a democratic process. i am sad beyond words at the deaths and injuries in tucson, aurora, newtown, and too many other places. but i'm also angry. that we, you and i, have made it so easy for these things to happen. we've allowed ourselves to
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overemphasize gun rights to the detriment of other rights including the most important, the right to be alive. we've allowed our families to lose the feeling of safety at school, at places of worship, and at the movies. and gabe, who had a passion for social justice, would be furious. please, do not be swayed by the line that the only way to combat a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. in fact, there was a good guy with a gun at the tucson shooting. but he almost mistakenly shot the citizen hero who tackled the shooter. i don't want to carry an assault rifle to go to the grocery store to buy broccoli or take a grandchild to soccer practice. i'm here to encourage you to tack until serious public health issue with resolve, with facts, and with the complexity of approach it requires.
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i fully understand that we can't stop every shooting. but if we can take action and save some of our loved ones, shouldn't we do everything we can? we've known some of the solutions for decades but have failed to act. we need better access to and funding for our mental health system. we need universal background checks and to take assault weapons and high capacity magazines off our streets. we need to allow the c.d.c. to fully research gun violence. i'm also here because i think it helps to bolster your resolve when you can think about the victims as real people, not just statist exs. gabe was a guy like many of your saffers, young, idealistic, worked long hours on horrible takeout food and adrenaline. he had plans that morning after the congress on your corner, picking a wedding location. helping his mom, that's me, hook up her tv, picking out a
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birthday pe present for his thian cey. enstead, he was shot in the head as he ran to help his boss by a man wielding weaponry designed solely to kill many people very quickly. have you ever had that nightmare where you knew where you were supposed to be but couldn't get there? that was my january 8. as i searched hospitals to find my son who hadn't answered his cell phone and who i thought might be wounded, it took hours to find out that he had died before he hit the ground and his body still lay on the sidewalk where he fell. when you're disheartened by the number of steps that have to be taken, by the fears of gun advocates, by the politics, please dig deep and find new heart. think for a moment about your young staffers, your children or grandchildren. now imagine that that cell phone in your pocket is vibrating and
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the message says they've been murdered by a stranger with an assault weapon. imagine that. then shore up your resolve and keep working to protect your staffers, our children, our nation. we need you to not give up. thank you. [applause]
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>> thank you, ms. nottingham. we aspire to equal your persistence and commitment. thank you so much for that moving testimony. and your colonel. thank you for that moving testimony. this problem is prevalent in our city bus not only in our cities. our next witness knows of the sad national effect of gun violence, chief scot knight. >> good afternoon. good afternoon. thank you, leader pelosi, for the opportunity to speak before the committee. i've been involved in firearms policy and legislation for a long time. i've been a police officer for 36 years. i am former cheer of the iact firearms committee. for many years, we have worked to try and stop the madness and avert the tragedies we're seeing.
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tragedies occur every day, with people, police officers including, losing their lives due to the inadequacy of our gun laws. law enforcement is on the front lines of the gun violence epidemic. more law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty by guns than any other means. approximately 2,000 children under the age of 18 are killed every year by guns. how very sad it's taken such horrific mass murders, including those of the 20 small children in connecticut, to get our attention.
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the debate on gun violence has been inaccurately depicted as progun or anti-gun this framework has stifled debate in an honest, rational discussion about what should be done to prevent gun violence. law enforcement is not anti-gun. we own guns, we work with guns, we carry guns, many are hunters, many sur sue -- pursue hunt, sporting conservation issues. we know that guns in dangerous hands have terrible consequences. we have seen the devastation caused by weapons with excessive firepower. federal law already deems certain categories of people too dangerous to possess firearms. among them, felons, fugitives, minor -- minors, and those committed to a mental institution or adjudicated as mentally ill.
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the brady law enacted in 1994 established a national background check system. but those checks as you know are only required when someone is making a purchase from a federally licensed firearms dealer. a way around those checks is for a person to purchase at a gun show, an add, or through a private party. we know, we've heard, an estimated 40% of firearms are required through private transactions, meaning a prohibited person can and does obtain a weapon without a background check. after the tragedy in newtown, the gun lobby funded in part by the gun makers, proclaimed that the solution to, quote, a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun, unquote. but the real solution is to prevent the bad guy from getting
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a gun in the first place, is to do a background check. that's something the good guy does. from 1994, when the brady law took effect, until 2009, and by the way, that's the last public data we could get, nearly two million prohibited purchases were blocked. two million. can you imagine? can you imagine what the current tai ta might be, imagine if background checks were required universally. that's a lot of bad guys prevented from getting guns. it's time to stop dangerous people from getting guns from any source. you can. congress must pass legislation requiring background checks for all purchases. we must also improve the national instant criminal background check system, known as nics.
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too many records are not in nics because states are behind in their reporting and too many states have not submitted records of those who have disqualifying mental health issues. this must be fixed. it is critical to reinstate the ban on assault weapons and on ammunition magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds. assault weapons are not legitimate sporting guns, nor were they designed for citizens to use in defending their homes. they were created to spray bullets in rapid fire on a battlefield. not on our streets. this kind of firepower in our communities is simply irresponsible and facilitates mass murder. many high -- banning high capacity magazines will reduce the number of bullets a shooter can use before he must reload. from tucson to maryland, perpetrators have been taken down while they're changing out
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magazines trying to reload. semiautomatic assault weapons already exist and they should be treated the same way we treat machine guns. they should be registered and the person should be -- should go through a background check in order to have the gun. the proposal to arm teachers and volunteers in our schools is a distraction and it's very dangerous. it opens a host of security issues. it is very difficult for even a highly trained police officer to engage in -- engage an act i shooter. it takes a great deal of training and a greet deal of training, something that our teachers, our presence pals, and our superintendents don't have the time and probably aren't
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inclined to do. police and school -- police in schools, also known as school resource officers, help make schools safer by building relationships and trust. it's those relationships and trust that stop the bad guy before an event happens. we're not coming in after the fact. we have relationships to develop and glean information so we know when someone is in trouble, we know when someone is struggling and we know when they're threatening to do something because time and time again we have evidence of it and it's the -- typically the school resource officer who develops that relationship and stops that event. it happens every day. because nothing happened, it does not make the news. i also want to stess the a.t.f. needs a director in place as soon as possible. it has been six years -- it has
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been six years that post has been vacant. and you know and i know a serious light needs to be signed on the see ha -- tiahrt amendment and the need to be repealed and removed. all across the country, law enforcement and the public are calling upon congress to strengthen our nation's laws. i dare say we're pleading. i ask that you heed our call and enact these very sensible measures that will prevent -- will prevent -- further bloodshed. thank you. [applause] >> thank you for what has been the most extraordinary, powerful testimony and prescriptions for
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us to take back and direct and thank you for giving us the strength and the resolve to help make these changes with you. we can't do it without you and i think you know that we hope that you know that we are with you in trying to make these cheams. we are now going to move to questions. i will just -- i'm going to into deuce my colleague, mike thompson, to introduce a member who was one of his vice chairs on the committee. i want to, we'll have a one-minute question and that's going to be what we get to dealing with our members. mr. thompson of california. >> thank you, madam cheer. it gives me great pleasure to introduce one of the vice chair on the task force to prevent gun violence, someone on the judiciary committee, an expert in juvenile justice and next
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week he'll be holding a hearing with grace napolitano, our colleague from california, on juvenile justice and mental health issues. the gentleman from virginia, mr. bobby scott. >> thank you. thank you, madam leader, thank you, mr. chairman. i just want to point out that we have already had recommendations from the president and vice president. we'll have additional recommendations. we know we're going to have a serious response to the tradgity in newtown. but in addition to the recommendations that we already have on gun safety and gun violence, specifically, we also have to make recommendations to address violence generally and that must be done with a comprehensive approach. dr. cornell, the forensic psychologist at the university of virginia, frequently reminds us if your school shooting prevention plan begins when the shooter is at the door, it's too late. so the youth promise act is one initiative which seeks to
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replace what the chern's defense fund calls a claim on the -- a cradle to prison pipeline, the cradle to college and career pipeline. the attorney general blue ribbon commission report on how to reduce problems associated with children exposed to violence was published a few months ago. it focuses on intervention and uses the trade evidence-based on virtually every page. it urges us to follow evidence and research and to avoid slogans and feel-good approaches that are not effective system of if we do what we know what to do and agree that our recommendations will conform to evidence-based approaches, we can have confidence that our recommendations will make a difference and our children across the nation will be protected. we have people from virginia tech that i'd like to recognize, laurie and the others, if you
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would stand up, those associated with the virginia tech tragedy. [applause] >> thanks. what we are now going to do is, first of all, this has been an outpouring of member support for this measure. we have had over 60 members of the house of representatives here and we are not in session. there are no votes. so members have stayed because of their view of the importance of this issue and wanting to listen to your view. what we will can't to do as we have in the past is recognize members in the order that they come in to the hearing room. but we are going to ask members in batches of five to ask one question each.
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i will admonish my colleagues, you have one minute, and we're used to this, to a ask your question and then we will have the panel answer and honestly what we'd like to do is to this in a 10-minute block of time so we can get around to as many questions as we can. the first grouping of questions -- yes? >> if i just may. i want to joan you in saluting the panel today. it was called a call to action and we certainly have heralded that call. i know the mayor has to get back to work in philadelphia, we're honored by the presence of all of you, but mr. mayor, if you have to leave we understand. i want to thank you now since we won't be able to acknowledge you at the end. [applause] >> i'm going to ask the following five members to keck
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it off. congresswoman eddie bernice johnson of texas, congresswoman joyce -- representative hall from new jersey, representative fran tell from florida, representative velazquez of new york, representative bona meechoo -- bonamici from oregon. >> thank you very much, madam chairman. my question probably is a very broad one and widespread and probably directed to the mayor and the chief of police. with all the budgetary restraints that we suffer throughout this country, certainly here, do you think that you could have an effective program without federal funding? >> no. >> we're going to take all five questions at one time.
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>> mr. holt. >> thank you for the stories, they certainly make one cry, they should make one angry and outraged and determined an committed. why is america so different in the statistics you gave us, mayor nutter? >> you know, it's not -- it's not that we have less health care or so many more defenseless students, it's not only american youth who play violent video games. it's not that we have so little information about bad guys. and yet we have so many more gun deaths. what is -- what are the major distractions in these arguments that we have to guard ourselves against? clearly over the decades we've
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been distracted from actually confronting the problem. >> thank you very much, madam chair. thank you so much, panelists, for your moving testimony. my home state of oregon is one of the few states that requires universal background checks for all firearm sales. however, the recent shooting at the clackamas town center shopping mall, the shooter killed two before turning the gun on himself. he had stolen the assault weapon. and the newtown shooter used guns owned by ms. mother. so universal background checks are important but what other steps can we take, how else can we address those issues not addressed by universal background checks? >> mr. moran. >> thank you. two things.
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we have an entire police force at virginia tech, armed guards at columbine. but what i would like to principally focus on, i'll direct this to mayor nutter. being from virginia. invariably the n.r.a. says, points out philadelphia an texas and other major cities saying they have the toughest gun laws but look at all the gun crime. virginia is one of the major problems. because what happens even though governor wilder passed a law limiting handguns to one gun a month, they then reversed it, ve virginia legislature. so now people will go in, whether it's a gun show or whatever, oftentimes they buy cases of guns, transport them up 95, and then find a convenient urban street corner, open up the trunk and sell the guns. i'd like tomeior to address that phenomenon and why it demands federal legislation. >> mr. kildee, one minute.
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i'm going to ask the mayor to answer questions first because he's going to have to leave. mr. kildee? >> thank you. panel, thank you for your presence here and your testimony. i represent it -- i represent flint, michigan, where over the last few years, one in every 540 residents have been slain. an amazing statistic. i talked to our prosecutor today. his concern is that the guns that he sees on the street are held by teenagers, not a single one of them acquired legally. my question and i suppose chief, i'll ask you specifically, to comment on what federal support, local police chiefs, particularly places leek flint and saginaw that i represent, that have precious few local resources available, what federal support would be most helpful in dealing with this problem?
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>> thank you, madam chair, i'll try to be quick. leader pelosi and chairs, thank you for your accommodation with regard to my schedule and the opportunity. congresswoman johnson, you asked a question with regard to, can we really -- we do what we do with what we have. but let me say this. and part of my testimony, i talked about dealing with these issues at the federal level. in the aftermath of 9/11, the united states of america said, we will do whatever it takes to make sure that we are safe flying. what i want is someone to say, we are going to do whatever it takes, walking. i want to be safe in my neighborhood. i want my children to be able to go to school. i want the same, comparable response to international terrorism, to the daily domestic terrorism that i see and other mayors across the country
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experience on a regular basis. that's funding, that's personnel, that's equipment, that's support, it's technology. it's a focus on a regular basis that domestic terrorism is as important as international terrorism. you almost have to take all your clothes off to get on an airplane. one guy had a bomb in his shoe and now all of us, years later are still taking our shoes off. that's fine. i want to be safer on an airplane. i'd like to be safe walking in my neighborhood as well. and all our chern. we can't do what we need to do without serious focused federal support. and that's what the commission idea is about. we had the 9/11 commission that told us what we needed to be doing to be safe in the air. we need the same kind of response to be safe on the ground. that's one answer. congressman holt, to your question, i think one of the reasons, i do not believe
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americans are that much manufacturer prone to violence, i do not believe philadelphiaians are more violent than most. but when you have almost as many guns as people in this country, invariably they end up in the hands of folks who shouldn't have them. we tried to pass in philadelphia, the simple idea that you had to report your weapon lost or stolen. if you want to make a claim to your insurance company about your car, you have to report it stolen. the n.r.a. fought that, sued me on my 100th day in office as mayor back in 2008, one of the proudest moments of my entire political clear. so it is a distraction. and the distraction is the n.r.a. and their money and their intimidating tactics. we have to be prepared to fight back. many -- not what i talked about earlier in terms of discussing adds, they have gutted and done
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their best to gut and underfund through congress the atfe, not confirmed a director, taken away their ability to communicate for law enforcement purposes. if you're going to solve a problem, you need to know what prop you're trying to solve. they've taken every possible step to block that agency or the c.d.c. or anyone else. we can put a person on the moon but i can't assure you'll be safe walking around the corner. we need data and information. gun locks and lockers. congress wovepl bonamici, one person took his mother's weapons. one proposal i released yesterday, the sandy hook principles, you walk into a video store or electron exs store you buy a d.v.d. player they immediately offer you a
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two-year warn di. -- warranty. you walk into a gun store, after the background check which everyone should go through, they should also offer you a gun lock or ask, do you have a gun locker in your house or your business where this gun is going to be stored? and that should be a part of the sale. and that's the only person who should be able to get access to that weapon. we know that the technology exists that you can in fact make guns in such a way that only the legitimate owner and operator can operate that weapon that would cut down tremendously on the fact that in many city and many other cities across the united states of america, you can rent guns in stash houses across the city. you walk in they show you weapons, you pick the one you want, put your money down, you do what you're going to do and bring it back. mostly you bring it back because they now who you are.
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in our city, i know in chicago, in illinois, they have very, very tough laws, we don't in pennsylvania. we have some of the weakest laws in the united states of america, and so in places where you have tough laws, i mean, they may be crazy but they're not totally stupid. they go across the county line, buy whatever weapons they buy in a weaker law state and engage in criminal activity. which is why we need federal legislation covering the entire united states of america. that's what we need. and purchases, the people involved in that business, it could be a spouse or it could be a girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever the case may be. they know they can't buy weapons themselves, they have a friend go do it. that person is engaged in criminal activity as far as i'm concerned. they should have the hammer come down on them as well. lastly you need minimum sentences for people who walk around with unlicensed weapons.
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look to new york, i commend governor cuomo for what he did yesterday but in new york city, a famous athlete a few years ago, walking around with his own weapon, unlicensed, shot himself in the leg and did two years in prison. this is serious business. we have too many young people, too many teens with too great access to these weapons and no one seems to care whether or not they have them or not. those are illegal guns that should not be on our streets and we need to step up law enforcement activity and snatch those illegal guns off the streets of america. all of this conversation, and i had one last night, with someone who clearly needs a serious background check herself, this notion that somehow after 236 years, in the city of philadelphia, that somehow the government is going to do something that causes everyone to be armed, that we're marching down the street, coming after guns, is a whole lot of nonsense and people who are not dealing
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in the reality of what i and the chief and many others face on a daily basis, we have real jobs with real challenges and real responsibilities, trying to make our folks safe. we need to cut out the nonsense and have serious conversations about these issues. and i thank you. >> thank you very much, mayor. >> thank you, mr. mayor, very much. our next group of five, and we ask that people try to limit one minutes, and committee assignments may be based on adherence to that. the first is ms. barbara lee of california, mr. hank johnson, mrs. susan davis and david scott. let me also just say to witnessesing when you're responding to this group of five if you'd like to comment on the earlier questions, please feel free to do so. >> thank you very much. first, let me thank the panel
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for your extraordinary testimony. my constituents in my district especially, i'm from oakland, kale, send their thoughts and prayers to you. in many ways, part of the community i represent has been a -- and continues to be a war zone. 15 of my constituents were shot just last week. chief knight, could you please give us an idea of what cities an police officers and mayors confront in terms of daily gun violence? >> ok, next, ms. lujan-grisham. >> i want to thank you for the incredibly touching and courageous remarks today. i can tell you i have renewed resolve because of your dedication and compassion and recognize that this is the day to commit from this day forward that we need comprehensive federal reforms so that we're doing something meaningful about
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the gun violence in this country. in fact, i come from a district in new mexico where we have significant gun violence and tragedy. many of the questions, i -- many of the questions i would have asked have been asked today so i have a new question which is, in the aftermath of this incredibly horrific tragedy in newtown, notwithstanding, i want to recognize that there have been others, what can we do in congress today to help the healing of newtown and make sure we have continued support for those families and your community, doctor robinson? >> thank you. mr. hank johnson. >> thank you. my condolences to doctors robinson and nottingham and also to the representatives from the virginia shooting. my sincere condolences. we live in a cull her of violence. the question is, how do we change from a culture of
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violence into a culture of education and a culture of peacefulness? it takes money. we here in congress have that ability. preventing mass shootings by way of banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines certainly something that we should do. we need to get at the issue of violence that affects us with respect to handguns used primarily in inner city areas to kill people. i'm not advocating for a ban on handguns. don't get me wrong. but i would say we need to address the issue of violence in our culture. and i'd like to know what kinds of resources are available to help students and to help people in the community, adults, who have emotional or mental
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disorders and whether or not we need to put more resources into that area. >> thank you, hank. susan davis. >> thank you very much. thank you for being here, for your amazing testimony. i want to followup on the mental health question as well. because -- i don't know if you could identify and perhaps state some immediate steps schools can take to identify potentially dangerous individuals, we know that many people who would benefit from mental health treatment are actually incarcerated because there's no place for them to go. on the other hand, california, for one, has had a civil commitment standard procedure for invol tear commitments and i wonder whether you think that's an important thing to look at as we look at options communities would have? >> thank you. david scott. >> thank you. dr. robinson, i'd like to direct
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this question to you. the national rifle association has said that the best way in response to what happened at your school in newtown was to arm the teachers and put armed personnel in each of the schools. i'd like to get your response. how would you respond to the n.r.a. on that? and secondly, why you feel strongly that a large part of the answer to this is to deal with these weapons of mass destruction as we call them, these high capacity weapons. those two points. >> thank you, david. thank you fur your patience. we ask our panels, remember, if you'd like to comment on something -- did you -- >> i was going to say, go to dr. ro benson. >> thank you. representative grisham thank you for your question, it's a sense
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ty question. we are -- we realize now in this position, looking back, there are phases of this, dealing with this trauma. if i would name this, i'd call this the start of a recovery. it's still painful. mental health is a big piece. part of what i've come to realize is when you have lost your whole sense of safety, that you start to look for things that are concrete and give you visible signs of safety. parents are looking to see that the police are out at the street. they want to make sure police, you know, the car is out there, police in the building. parents are coming and demanding that there be s.r.o.'s in all of our elementary schools, which we didn't have. you know, people seem to need that. some of my teachers are saying, you know, i need escape ladders in the room. i need to have the door changed.
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i need new locks. they're creating lots of things that -- a list of things they think they need to have to feel safe because they've lost the personal sense of safety. so congress could take a real critical look at those unique sitch bases that happen in traumatic events with arizona or wherever. people go through these processes and there are different places, a lot of grieving and the mental health support is very necessary and we do a great job of bringing traumatic experts, counseling and so forth and then they go away. and i think people do support firearms and when these people go away. they say transition plan and we say, no, we can't talk about transition. we're not there. so we need more long-term
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support when a traumatic incident occurs. that's mental health and also with the visible signs of security so we can keep going. representative scott, your question about the nra arming teachers. i come from the military family, my dad was career military, my husband is a navy pilot. we don't keep guns. i have great respect for guns. my dad used to take me on the old ranch in new mexico and teach me to shoot, i have great respect for them. but if you listen to what the chief said, it takes a great deal of training for a police officer to shoot a weapon in action. teachers are teachers. if you think about elementary teachers, elementary teachers just love kids. they're not going to go packing and sit on the floor and read to the kids with a gun at their hip. there was some very incensive -- insensitive individual that will
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go unnamed that immediately after this, and i did not watch tv after this, but he said the -- if the principal had a gun, she could have taken care of this. but she wasn't at her desk. so she would have had to be carrying it around. people say thigh need to see. they need to see armed policemen. and they want people who are trained and know -- they want to see it in the schools. i think that's that loss of security and i think that's important. at least temporarily we accommodate that. the third part of your question had to do with high capacity. he shot every one of these little 6 year olds three to 11
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times. that wasn't necessary. and we could -- had he had a single shot or -- a gun that was not -- and all those -- that ammunition, maybe dawn and the people could have stopped him. they didn't have a chance with a semiautomatic weapon. and little 6-year-old bodies having a chance. did i miss anyone? >> ms. nottingham did you have a comment? then we'll go to the chief. >> i would like to echo the idea that people need support after mass shootings or after any tragedy for a long time. it is not a -- there is not a quick recovery. and that should be understood and recognized. secondly, to address just one aspect of the idea of moving to
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a culture of education rather than a culture of violence, one of the things that we have been working on in tucson, civility, respect, and understanding, is anti-bullying in schools. where we learned about violence, we modeled violence, children learn very young. and if we're going to address this to an educational aspect then we should look at additional support for anti-bullying activities in our school. >> from my world view, some of these overlap. i'm not necessarily going to be surgical but i'm going to answer, i think, a lot of these questions. firstly, and she's left, who asked about funding. yes, please, we do. there's a number of ways we use it but specifically school resource officers. in my city, a city of 25,000,
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the lion's share of the public schools are in my city and i have private schools, three. buzz of funding and what it is in today's world and the economy and education, we know how they're strapped. i have four s.r.o.'s at one time. i now have one. and that's not an ideal situation. so funding, please. the s.r.o., they're in there, they know the kids, they know when they don't look right, they have friendships, they talk, somebody will say, have you seen her facebook page or i'm being taken down on bullied on facebook. all these things that lead us to mental health issues. in regard to mental health issues, today the officer on the street gets called because someone is having an ep sed of some nature. maybe a family member or co-worker calls or maybe they're
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just out and about having some sort of episode. the officer comes, evaluates, and determines that, you know, something is going on. this person needs to be seen. they've committed no crime, a lot of the time. but you can't leave. so they, in minnesota, and i think throughout our country, execute a 72-hour hold. a lot of people think, oh, good, the situation is resolved for 7 hours at least, this individual is going to be receiving some sort of care and diagnosis that will determine what the next step is. but that's not true. the 7 -hour hold only gives the authority to say whether you want to or not, you're going to have to come with me or the paramedic crew and you're going to this hospital. upon arrival, often, because the history is not known, a host of legitimate reasons, the e.r.
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physician or whoever is seing that person releases them right back and they're out the door. so yes, that's a problem. and you're right. my peers will tell you, jails have become de facto institutions because a lot of these people immediately, crime happens or if they're out, something well -- something will, so now they're in jail. do we think they're getting treated there? i hope that goes to your question. >> can i interrupt you for one second? i know that dr. robinson is going to catch an airplane and again we want to say thank you to you, our hearts, our thoughts, our prayers are with you and the newtown community and we will do what we need to do. thank you, dr. robinson. [applause]
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sorry, chief. >> no, i'm sorry. so to the question about someone legally owns a weapon but then another person gets their hands on it, family member or whatever the situation. yes, that happens. we know that happens. but there should be, along with reporting lost or stolen weapons, there should be legislation, i think, that requires the safe storage and separation of weapons and ammunition so they're not available to just anyone who might come upon them. just so you know as a footnote, it wasn't that long ago that smith & wesson was giving gun locks out with their weapons. and they were verified -- vilified, vill fid by the industry. guess what they stopped doing? it's a business decision. giving gun locks, it came to be, it was a prudent business decision to stop it.
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where is the sanity in that? it doesn't exist. of course it doesn't. you know, in regards to the daily violence that we see, fortunately, in my city, very few murders but we have a lot of suicides. have a lot of accidents. in fact in the past 12 months we had four people who have gone through the permitting process shoot themselves and they were accidents. two of them were demonstrating the weapon was unloaded. and so we're dealing with gun violence all the time and again, which doesn't make the news, is my officers are taking guns off of people all the time. because nothing happened, thank god, so it's not a newsworthy item. here's a little bit of history, and my peers will tell you this across the country. i started in 1976. at that time the officer had a side arm, a revolver.
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in the car if needed, was a shotgun. typically 12-fwage. and that was the weapon to go to if it really got heavy. today, over time, we went from the shotgun because it wasn't adequate. it was no longer adequate for the threats the officer was facing on the streets. we moved to an mp-5 nine millimeter carbine rifle. we're leveling the field a little bit. we're not getting ahead, we're leveling the field a little bit. today, today my officers have ar-15's in their cars. if you think i'm doing this because -- do you think i got a lot of money? do you think it's -- i'm doing it because i'm forced to to provide my officers with tools they need to keep you, my family, my community, and themselves safe. it's not simply because it's a
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new sexy weapon we need to acquire. so i hope that goes to your question. i hope i touched on all the questions. >> thank you. this is the last traunch of questions here. sheila jackson lee of texas and nita lowey from new york, gwen moore -- is gwen? there you are. sorry, didn't see you. and congressman vecsey. he may have left. ok. so ms. jackson lee, mrs. lowey and ms. moore. one minute. >> let me acknowledge to dr. nottingham our deepest sympathy but respect for such a young man, such a hero. certainly to the tragedy that we witnessed in newtown and elsewhere, i also want to
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acknowledge two people in the room who experienced gun violence in ron davis and lucia mcbeth who lost their son, jordan, to gun violence. [applause] i come from texas, chief, and i'm going to hold this up, the headline says at top of gun world, because i want everyone to know what you just said, what many have said, we're not after people's guns. houston armory. the headline says they're strictly controlled by the united states government. not only that -- if someone breaks in to take their guns and they said because they are in a vault. tell me about being outgunned as a police officer and the importance of storing and securing guns you mentioned it earlier but storing and securing guns in people's homes which i think is enormously crucial.
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>> mrs. lowey. >> thank you very much. i particularly want to thank dr. nottingham as a mother and grandmother, i can't imagine sitting next to my friend, the pain you feel, i just want to ask for your help and all those listening today. we all have been listening to the recent polls, 88% of american people support closing the gun show loophole. 76% support universal background checks. 65% support banning high capacity magazines, etc., etc., etc. i just hope we can work together to use the american people to get legislation passed through both the senate and the house. new york passed tough legislation just this week. we can do it with your help.
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and i thank you for appearing here today. thank you. >> and ms. moore? >> thank you so much. i join so many others in awe of you who have turned your pain into some actionable plans for curtailing the violence. i don't know that i could do it. and i really appreciate your appearing to help us sort through these things. i think part of what makes all of us feel so helpless is because who, you know, how you prepare, in a sleepily little town like newtown, connecticut, anticipating that someone will come in and shoot 26 people, you just don't necessarily prepare for that as you might think of some big city where that might happen. but there are, i'm talking about
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domestic violence now, we know that every single day there's going to be some woman who is going to be killed because there are restraining orders that are put out there and a woman whose spouse has a firearm is five times more likely to be killed. we have federal laws prohibiting misdemeanor or felony -- folks with femme felonies from having a firearm but what do you think, i have a bill, what do you think, chief of maybe a grant program we could give to the state to number one, sort of align their domestic violence laws and identifying who these people are with federal law and to get them grants so that as soon as that restraining order is put down, number one, they seize firearms from them right that day, no need to duo to
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psychiatrist, nothing, if you got a restraining order, we get your firearms that day, and until the judge lifts that order at some point. and that would be put in the nci c immediately. is so you can't get another gun. thank you. >> mr. barbour, one minute comment, question? >> i have a question regarding mental health services and people with mental health need. before that, i want to correct something aye been saying for a few days that is now incorrect. i was saying that those of us who were shot on january 8 were shot in 45 seconds. i learned yesterday from the u.s. attorney that it was actually 19 seconds.
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i think it just emphasizes all the more the need to do something about it. -- about high capacity magazines. my question to you about mental health, with fers responders and educators, police chief, and emily, if you will, what can we do to prvide good information to help get people the treatment they need and prevent these kinds of tragedies? >> and your response? >> the question about gun storage, particularly in the home venue, i think one of the issues, this is a personal opinion, but in the field if you will, our country has a solid hunting an sporting tradition but it was waning and we had a lot of people now with guns that didn't grow up in such
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traditions and cultures and frankly they don't hunt. with that comes a lack of respect for a weapon, first of all. secondly, this idea and it's -- we see it all the time of guns, unsecured, loaded, in a home, under a pillow new york a night stand, on top of the refrigerator, wherever it is, that anyone can come along, especially a child and pick up. frankly we need legislation that makes it a crime. unsafe environment, those kind of things, but is that really getting at the particular issue? i don't think it does. and sometimes they have to be able to be creative to do that. in a regard to domestic violence. absolutely. here's what we could do with that. first of all, and forgive me for saying the obvious, but nix is a wonderful thing.
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i'm sorry, ncic. they're both wonderful things. but ncic is a wonderful thing but anything with a serial number goes in there, too like a toaster, if you have one. it's not necessarily a go-to database. i think you're right on and i think that those people should go into the nix system right away and i think that what we need is then funding for crisis teams. because a lot of times, and even when guns and often is the case are not involved but someone needs some help and an officer rolls up at 3:00 in the morning and they are very limited in the resources that are available to them. if there is funding for properly trained crisis intervention people, there we go. now we got something. now it is the mental health e.r., if you will, and the officer doesn't have to try and be creative or drive away, god for bid, because there's nothing we -- forbid, because there's nothing they can do. and i'm sorry, was there
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another question that i'm -- >> while he's thinking, i want to add one thing. i'm not an expert in mental health. but i do just want to say that in any comprehensive package, including appropriate funding for increased access to mental health services and increased mental health services is absolutely crucial. we don't want to have to solve our problems by tackling a shooter after they've run out of bullets. in a high-capacity magazine. what we want to do is stop them from ever feeling the need to pick up that gun. and so if we can include mental health in a comprehensive package i think it's absolutely crucial. >> thank you and i want to ask each of you if you have some
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closing remarks you want to make. a startling statistic that i just found out is that 67% of adults, 80% of our children who have mental health issues are not being treated for those issues. i have to look over and over again because i thought the numbers were so staggering that no one would believe me and we've got the citationen to as well. let me just ask you if you have any closing remarks before i turn it over to the leader. >> thank you for listening to us and stay the course. >> i would like to say this. thank you. i have over the years met with a lot of you. and i know where your hearts are, i know where your hearts are and thank you. thank you. what a great day this was, leaving the white house and coming to this. thank you. i would say this. there are those who say that the gun lobby has caused great fear among your colleagues and maybe they would rather do something but because of this fear they all go the with gun
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lotty -- with the gun lobby. i would like to just suggest this. for that individual, not you folks, but for that individual who's struggling with that fear, that's not fear. that's inconvenience, that's maybe a little heartburn. fear, fear is what went through the hearts and mind of those 20 first graders in connecticut. that's fear, ladies and gentlemen. and the suggestion that people should be afraid of the gun lobby, when in fact you know america's hind you on the gun -- behind you on the gun background checks and all these other issues, how is that fair? it is just becoming educated. [applause] >> madam leader. >> thank you very much. i thank you, congresswoman delauro, and congressman rob andrews, the co-chairs of the steering and policy committee. i thank all of our colleagues.
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this is the biggest show of members that we have had for any hearing by far. and i might add there's an overflow of room of folks who have been listening to the proceedings. most of all i thank our witnesses for sharing their stories, their experience. you honor us with your generosity of spirit and time to be with us because i know you have big demands, especially at this time, for your opinions. i did want, as i mentioned earlier, a call to action. gun violence prevention, a call to action. so i'm going to yield my time to the gentlelady from california, mr. thompson -- the gentleman from california, mr. thompson, because he has the responsibility to lead us into action legislatively here. once again, chief knight, dr. knottingham, thank you so much for honoring us with your presence. [applause]
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>> thank you, madam leader. and chairs for holding today's hearing. and thank you for allowing me to help construct sensible gun laws that will help to prevent gun violence. nothing said today is earth shattering. nothing said today is going to take anybody's guns. nothing today is going to threaten any hunters or any gun collectors. people came forward today and called for background checks and i don't know how anyone could be against that. everybody wants to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. if you don't have background checks, you can't do it. the whole idea of assault magazines, people coming with 30 shells in their magazines, 20, even 15 shells in their magazine, as i've already said, i'm a hunter. the federal law, the federal law restricts the number of shells i can put in my shotgun when i go duck hunting. no law restricts the number of
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shells somebody can put in an assault magazine to go out and do whatever types of misdeeds that they want to do. enforcing the existing laws, that's what they say is a no-brainer. enhance school security, fixing the holes in our mental health system, all important things, all things that we have to do. and the leader's right, it is a call to action. and it's time to act. it's time that responsible gun owners stand hand in hand with a passionate and compassionate congress to make sure that we make our streets safe and it's something we can do and the time to act is now so thank you all very, very much. [applause] >> i think it's important to note to our witnesses that, for the course of the hearing as you know, scores of members were here but our distinguished majority democratic whip has been with us the entire time as has our distinguished ranking
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member of the judiciary committee. so we're very honored by your presence and a tribute. >> if i can say, i wasn't asked whether i had any questions but i was going to answer, i have no questions. but i have unbelievable respect and admiration for your courage and insights. thank you very much. >> thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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>> and you'll be able to see this house democratic steering committee meeting again in our video library shortly at c-span.org. we'll also have it later in our program schedule. president obama earlier today officially launched his effort to reduce gun violence, calling for action in congress and signing 23 expecttific orders
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to deal with the issue. he spoke before an audience that included the families of those killed in last month's newtown, connecticut, mass shooting. the president specifically called for an assault weapons ban. better background checks, plus more funding for police and mental health services. he's introduced by vice president biden who led the task force, looking into gun violence in the days after had the sandy hook shooting. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president and vice president of the united states.
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>> excuse me, mr. president. please, please be seated. thank you. before i begin today, let me say to the families of the innocents who were murdered 33 days action, our heart go goes out to you. and you show incredible courage . incredible courage being here and the president and i are going to do everything in our power to honor the memory of your children and your wives with the work we take up here today. it's been 33 days since the nation's heart was broken by the horrific senseless violence that took place at sandy hook elementary school. 20, 20 beautiful first graders gunned down in a place that's supposed to be their second sanctuary. six, six members of the staff killed trying to save those
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children. it's literally been hard for the nation to comprehend, hard for the nation to fathom. and i know for the families who are here, the time is not measured in days but it's measured in minutes, in seconds. since you received that news. another minute without your daughter, another minute without your son, another minute without your wife, another minute without your mom. i want to personally thank chris and lynn mcdonald who lost a beautiful daughter grace and the other parents who i had a chance to speak to for their suggestions and for, again, just for their -- the courage of all of you to be here today. i admire, i admire the grace and the resolve that you all are showing. and i must say i've been deeply
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affected by your faith as well. and the president and i are going to do everything to try to match the resolve you've demonstrated. no one can know for certain if this senseless act could have been prevented but we all know we have a moral obligation, a moral obligation to do everything in our power to diminish the prospect that something like this could happen again. as the president knows, i've worked in this field a long time in the united states senate. having chaired a committee that had jurisdiction over these issues, of guns and crime. and having drafted the first gun violence legislation, the last gun violence legislation, i should say. and i have no illusions about what we're up against or how hard the task is in front of yous -- us but i also have never seen the nation's conscience so shaken by what happened at sandy hook.
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the world has changed. and it's demanding action. it's in this context that the president asked me to put together, along with cabinet members, a set of recommendations about how we should proceed to meet that moral obligation we have. and toward that end, a cabinet members and i sat down with 229 groups, not just individuals, representing deprupes, 229 groups from law enforcement agencies to public health officials to gun officials to gun advocacy groups to sportsmen and hunters and religious leaders. and i've spoken with members of congress on both side of the aisle, had extensive conversation with mayors and governors and county officials and the recommendations we provided to the president on monday call for executive actions he could sign, legislation he could call for and long-term research that should be undertaken. they're based on the emerging consensus we heard from all the groups with whom we spoke including some of you who are the victims of this god an
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awful occurrence -- god-awful occurrence. the way to keep guns out of the wrong hand as well as to take comprehensive action to prevent violence in the first place. we should do as much as we can as quickly as we can and we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. so some of what you will hear from the president will happen immediately. some will take some time. but we have begun and we are starting here today and we're resolved to continue this fight. during the meet thags we held, we met with a young man who's here today. collin, where are you? clin was one of the survivors -- collin was one of the survivors of the virginia tech massacre. he was in the classroom. he calls himself one of the lucky seven. and he'll tell you he was shot four times on that day and he has three bullets that are still inside him. and when i ask collin about what he thought we should be doing, he said that he said i'm not here because of what happened to me.
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i'm here because of what happened to me keeps happens to other people and we have to do something about it. col be, -- collin, we will. collin, i promise you we will. this is our intention. we must do what we can now and there's no person who is more committed to acting on this moral obligation we have than the president of the united states of america. ladies and gentlemen, president barack obama. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. thank you so much. thank you, everybody. please, please have a seat. good afternoon, everybody. let me begin by thanking our vice president, joe biden. for your dedication, joe, to this issue, for bringing so many different voices to the
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table. because while reducing gun violence is a complicated challenge, protecting our children from harm shouldn't be a divisive one. over the month since the tragedy in newtown, we've heard from so many and obviously none have affected us more than the families of those gorgeous children and their teachers and guardians who were lost. and so we're grateful to all of you for taking the time to be here and recognizing that we honor their memories in part by doing everything we can to prevent this from happening again. but we also heard from some unexpected people. in particular, i started getting a lot of letters from kids. four of them are here today. grant fritz, julia stokes and
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teja good. they're pretty representative of some of the messages that i got. these are some pretty smart letters from some pretty smart young people. hina, a third grader, you can go ahead and wave. that's you. hina wrote, i feel terrible for the parents who lost their children. i love my country and i want everybody to be happy and safe. and then grant, go ahead and wave, grant. [laughter] grant said, i think there should be some changes. we should learn from what happened at sandy hook. i feel really bad. and then julia said, julia, where are you? there we go. i'm not scared for my safety, i'm scared for others. i have four brothers and sisters and i know i would not be able to bear the thought of
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losing any of them. and these are our kids. this is what they're thinking about. and so what we should be thinking about is our responsibility to care for them. and shield them from harm. and give them the tools they need to grow up and do everything that they're capable of doing, not just to pursue their own dreams but to help build this country. this is our first task as a society. keeping our children safe. this is how we will be judged. and there are voices -- their voices should compel us to change. and that's why last month i asked joe to lead an effort, along with members of my cabinet, to come up with some concrete steps we can take right now to deep our children safe -- keep our children safe.
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to help prevent mass shootings. to reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country. and we can't put this off any longer. just last thursday, as tv networks were covering one of joe's meetings, on this topic, news broke of another school shooting, this one in california. in the month since 20 precious children and six brave adults were violently taken from us at sandy hook elementary, more than 900 of our fellow americans have reportedly died at the end of a gun. 900 in the past month. and every day we wait that number will keep growing. so i'm putting forward a specific set of proposals based
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on the work of joe's task force and in the days ahead i intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality. because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there's even one life that can be saved, then we've got an obligation to try. and i'm going to do my part. as soon as i'm finished speaking here, i will sit at that desk and sign a directive giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals and the public health community some of the tools they need to help reduce gun violence.
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we will make it easier to keep guns out of the hands of criminals by strengthening the background check system. we will help schools hire more resource officers if they want them and develop emergency preparedness plans. we will make sure mental health professionals know their options for reporting threat of violence. even as we acknowledge that someone with a mental illness is far more likely to be a victim of violent crime than the perpetrator. and while year after year those who oppose even modest gun safety measures have threatened to defund scientific or medical research into the causes of gun violence, i will direct the centers for disease control to go ahead and study the best ways to reduce it. and congress should fund research into the effects that violent video games have on young lives. we don't benefit from ignorance. we don't benefit from not knowing the science of this
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epidemic of violence. these are a few of the 23 executive actions that i'm announcing today. but as important as these steps are, they are in know no way a substitute for action from members of congress. to make a real and lasting difference, congress too must act. and congress must act soon. and i'm calling on congress to pass some very specific proposals right away. first it's time for congress to require a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun. [applause] the law already requires licensed gun dealers to run background check and over the last 14 years that's kept 1.5 million of the wrong people
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from getting their hands on a gun. but it's hard to enforce that law when as many as 40% of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check. that's not safe, that's not smart, that's not fair to responsible gun buyers or sellers. if you want to buy a gun, whether it's from a licensed dealer or a private seller, you should at least have to show you are not a felon or somebody legally prohibited from buying one. this is common sense. and an overwhelming majority of americans agree with us on the need for universal background checks. including more than 70% of the national riffle association's members, according to one survey. so there's no reason we can't do this. second, congress should restore a ban on military-style assault weapons and a 10-round limit for magazines.
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[applause] the type of assault rifle used in aurora, for example, when paired with high-capacity magazines, has one purpose. to pump out as many bullets as possible as kickly as possible. -- quickly as possible. to do as much damage using bullets offer designed to inflict maximum damage. and that's what allowed the gunmen in aurora to shoot 70 people. 70 people, killing 12. in a matter of minutes. weapons designed for the theater of war have no place in a movie theater. a majority of americans agree with us on this. and by the way, so did ronald reagan, one of the staunchest defenders of the second amendment. who wrote to congress in 1994, urging them, this is ronald reagan speaking, urging them to listen to the american public
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and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of military-style assault weapons. [applause] and finally congress needs to help rather than hinder law enforcement as it does its job. we should get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and sellth and we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this. since congress hasn't confirmed the director of the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms in six years, they should confirm todd jones who will be -- who has been acting and i will be nominating for the post. [applause] and at a time when budget cuts are forcing many communities to
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reduce their police force, we should put more cops back on the jock. and back on our streets. now, let be be absolutely clear. like most americans, i believe the second amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. i respect our strong tradition of gun ownership. and the rights of hunters and sportsmen. there are millions of responsible law-abiding gun owners in america who cherish the right to bear arms for hunting or sport or protection or collection. i also believe most gun owners agree that we can respect the second amendment while keeping an irresponsible law-breaking few from inflecting harm on a massive -- inflicking harm on a massive scale. i believe most of them agree that if america worked harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one that occurred in
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newtown. that's what these reforms are designed to do. they're commonsense measures. they have the support of the majority of the american people. and yet that doesn't mean any of this is going to be easy to enact or implement. if it were, we'd already have universal background checks. the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines never would have been allowed to expire. more of our fellow americans might still be alive celebrating birthdays an anniversaries and graduations. this will be difficult. there will be pundits and politicians and special interest lobbyists, publicly warning of a tyrannical all-out assault on liberty. not because that's true. but because they want toin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves and behind the scenes they'll do
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everything they can to block any commonsense reform and make sure nothing changes whatsoever. the only way we will be able to change is if their audience, their constituents, their membership says this time must be different. a this time we must do something to protect our communities and our kids. i will put everything i've got into this and so will joe but i tell you, the only way we can change is if the american people demand it. and by the way, that doesn't just mean from certain parts of the country. we're going to need voices in those areas and those congressional districts where the tradition of gun ownership is strong to speak up. and say this is important. it can't just be the usual
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suspects. we have to examine ourselves and our hearts and ask ourselves what is important. this will not happen unless the american people demand it. if parents and teachers, police officers and pastors, if hunters and sportsmen, if responsible gun owners, if americans of every background stand up and say, enough, we've suffered too much pain and care too much about our children to allow this to continue, then change will come. that's what it's going to take. you know, in the let that are julia wrote me she said, i know that laws have to be passed by congress, but i beg you to try very hard. [laughter]
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julia, i will try very hard. but she's right. the most important changes we can make depend on congressional action. they need to bring these proposals up for a vote and the american people need to make sure that they do. get them on record. ask your member of congress if they support universal background checks to keep guns out of the wrong hands. ask them if they support renewing a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. and if they say no, ask them why not. ask them what's more important, doing whatever it takes to get an a grade from the gun lobby that funds their campaigns or giving parents some peace of mind when they drop their child off for first grade. [applause]
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this is the land of the free and it always will be. as americans we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights that no man or government can take away from us. but we've also long recognized as our founders recognized that with rights comresponsibilities. along with our freedom to live our lives as we will comes an obligation to allow others to do the same. we don't live in isolation. we live in a society. a government of and by and for the people. we are responsible for each other. the right to worship freely and safely. that right was denied to sikhs
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in oak creek, wisconsin. the right to assemble peaceably, that right was denied shoppers in oregon and movie goers in aurora, colorado. that most fundamental set of rights, to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, fundamental rights that were denied to college students at virginia tech and high school students at columbine and elementary school students in newtown and kids on street corners in chicago on too frequent a basis to tolerate. and all the families who have never imagined that they'd lose the loved one to a bullet. thoseritis are at stake. we're responsible. and when i visited newtown last month, i spent some private time with many of the families who lost their children that day and one was the family of
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grace mcdonnell. grace's parents are here. grace was 7 years old when she was struck down. just a gorgeous, caring, joyful little girl. i'm told she loved pink. she loved the beach. she dreamed of becoming a painter and so just before i left chris, her father gain of me one of her paint lings. and i hung it in my private study just off the oval office. and every time i look at that painting, i think about grace. and i think about the life that she lived and the life that lay ahead of her and most of all i think about how when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now. for grace. for the 25 other innocent
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children and devoted educators who had so much left to give. for the men and women in big cities and small towns who fall victim to senseless violence each and every day. for all the americans who are counting on us to keep them safe from harm. let's do the right thing. let's do the right thing for them and for this country that we love so much. [applause] thank you. i'm going to go signed the orders. >> any of you left hbded? >> me.
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>> are you? >> there we are. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> shortly after the president's comments the
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national riffle association read a -- released a statement which reads in part that we look forward to working with congress on a bipartisan basis to find real solutions to protecting america's most valuable asset -- our children. attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as the nation. only honest law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitable -- inevitability of more tragedy. that from the national riffle association this afternoon. president obama made his announcement today before a group of gun control supporters not long after the president's remarks we'll hear some of the audience -- those in the audience spoke to reporters just outside the white house including on your screen the mayor of philadelphia, michael nutter. >> good afternoon, everyone. i'm michael nutter, mayor of
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the city of philadelphia. i also serve presently as the president of the u.s. conference mayors. i'm pleased to be joined by an incredible group of americans, many of whom you'll hear from. after me, police commissioner kelly from the great city of new york will be speaking. we have advocates from a variety of gun safety organizations. but also most importantly family members of victims of senseless violence in their locales. let me just start by saying that on behalf of the u.s. conference mayors and the million and a half people in the city of philadelphia, i commend president barack obama and vice president biden for the bold vision that they've laid out. the comprehensive and commonsense plan to help ensure the safety of all americans,
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whether they are in towns like newtown and connecticut or my city in philadelphia or new york or chicago or los angeles or anywhere else in the united states of america, we need to get behind president obama's plan to ensure that universal background checks are made for every gun purchase here in the united states. that there is a need for an assault weapons ban. as well as the clips or magazines of no more than 10 rounds. obviously there is a great need to support funding for mental health services, not cuts. as well as the president laid out to put more officers on the streets of our cities all across america. these are commonsense ideas, these are reforms that need to take place. the combination of legislative action by the congress as well as the president's signing the numerous executive orders today
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demonstrates his commitment, his administration's commitment to getting things done now. i certainly call on the congress to take up that same sense of urgency on behalf of the american people and especially the safety and security of our children, our most precious resource in this great country. with that, commissioner kelly. >> thank you, mayor. i'm here representing mayor bloomberg, along with john, the criminal justice coordinator of the new york city. and mayor nutter echoed what the president said and this is common sense. this is a commonsense proposal. the vice president said that this is an effort to diminish the possibility. we know we're not going to eliminate, you know, all gun violence, but it certainly will diminish the possibility of having another newtown. so mayor bloomberg, who has been a major force i know is
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pleased with this proposal. and i know also that of course he urges congress to get onboard quickly. the president said it's going to be a struggle but i believe all of the major law enforcement organizations will support the administration in this effort. so this is a good day. we also like the fact that the president mentioned the possibility of more police officers. many departments throughout the country have been significantly reduced as a result of the financial crisis. so we're hopeful that there is legislation that will significantly help us in manning our post and staffing our police departments throughout the country. thank you. >> good afternoon. my name is pat lodra. i'm the first selectman of the town of newtown in connecticut. the scene of the most recent
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horrific event that took place at our sandy hook elementary school. in which we lost 206 and 7-year-olds and six of the staff members of that school. i'm here to show support for those initiatives that were laid out today by vice president biden and our president obama. both of those members said that our world has changed because of what happened at sandy hook school. that our consciousness has been raised and we have a call to and an obligation to address. if that is so, then change will take place. i would hate to mindify self a year or two or three from now reading about another event and we have fallen back into that sense of less -- legislate argey that we can't do anything because we don't have the will. i truly believe that the will of the people make a difference. and i'm calling on everyone to have the courage to stand up.
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i call on every one of you, as mothers and fathers and members of a reasonable society to know that it is time for us to make a change. please do everything you can to support commonsense policies. we need to know that we are the answer to this problem. thank you. >> thank you. >> hi, i'm dan gross, i'm president of the brady campaign. i also come to the issue of gun violence here personal -- through personal experience. my younger brother, matt gross, was shot in a shooting that happened on the observation deck of the empire state building in 1997. we're proud to stand here with all these great leaders, with the president and vice president earlier today, as well as with the other folks that -- who you will hear from shortly who have their own personal stories to share. today is a momentous day. but it is just the beginning and now it's up to us.
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and that's our message to the american public and you heard it today from the president saying that in order for change to happen on this issue, the american public is going to need to make its voice heard. and that's the roll that we at the brady campaign intend to help play along with all the other great organizations out there that are convening the voice of the american public. so our message would be to every american out there, gun owners, n.r.a. members, mothers, fathers, we're all mothers, fathers, decent law-abiding human beings first. and we invite all of you to join those of us like the brady campaign who are committed to making your voices heard. in washington, d.c. in the capitol. the only place where this issue is a heated partisan political debate is in the halls of congress. there's an extraordinary disconnect between what the american public wants, including gun owners and n.r.a. members, and what our elected
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officials are doing about it. it is going to be up to us, the american public, to close that disconnect and we invite all of you to join us, to make your voices heard, because the one guarantee in this process is, without that, we are not going to get the change that the task force and that the president and the vice president were talking about today. they've done their job, they've shown extraordinary leadership, convening a conversation that's led to a consensus, that's led to a set of solutions, that will not only prevent tragedies like sandy hook, but will also prevent the 10,000 murders that happen every year in our country. the 30,000 gun deaths that happen every year in our country. and now it's up to us to join them, to add the voice of the american public to make these changes a reality. momentous day today. just the beginning, now it's up to us. and now i'd like to invite -- oh, i guess, i don't know if there's further protocol before some of the voices here speak. >> my name is annette and i'm
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from chicago and i lost my only child, blair holt, may 10, 2007, on a public transit bus coming home from school. where five teenagers were shot. and i'm not just here for blair. but i'm here for all the thousands of young people that have been murdered in the city of chicago. i'm here to represent their voices and their faces. because those are the stories you really don't hear about. these are good children. going to school, doing all the right things. at the right time. when they're supposed to. and people need to know that this happens every day in big cities. we lose talented individuals every day to gun violence. and i'm just so honored that the president had the currently, as well as vice president biden and his attorney general holder, to stand up and say something and do something. this day for me has been coming since may 10 of 2007. and i'm just so grateful that we're here. and we need the american public to speak up about this issue and speak to the legislators to change their minds and change their hearts, to do the right thing. because you too can be me and lose your only child and i would never want that to happen
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to you. >> hello. i'm sabbedy phillips and my daughter, jessica redfield-gowy, was killed in aurora on july 21. today has been surreal for me because since my daughter's death we have seen so many other shootings and have lost so many other people. it is going to take every single one of you, and i challenge even those of who you are here today covering this story, to please take action. one out of three americans are touched by gun violence. my daughter was touched twice. six weeks before she died she was in the mall shooting in toronto. i told her at that time falsely that she would never again see such a horrendous occurrence. in six -- and six weeks later she laid dead. you must take action if you
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think that this cannot happen to you and that you will never be touched by gun violence, you are fooling yourself. this is a start of a long battle and we are prepared to fight it to the very end. we ask the american public to please join us. middle america, to please stand up and be counted. be counted this time. this is the first time that our politicians are caring and listening to us. please do what you need to do and join us. thank you. >> my name is collin. i was shot four times in the shooting at virginia tech in 2007. i was one of the lucky seven people to survive from my french class. i didn't choose to get involved with this effort because of what happened to me, i chose to do this as the vice president said because i keep seeing the same thing happening to other people. i really want to commend the president for stepping up and showing the much-needed leadership we needed to have a
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conversation, to have the substantive changes we need this this country so bad. he clearly knows that we are better than this. and now it's our job to make our elected officials show us that they know it too. thank you. >> with that, any of us who might be able to answer any of your questions would be glad to take questions. but i want to thank all of the speakers and all those who are assembled. these are serious americans who have been touched in one way, shape or form, or some of us have the responsibility to ensure that our citizens are safe in our cities all across this country. again, i want to say that president barack obama has shown great leadership, put out bold ideas. it's time for congress to act boldly as well. i'll be glad to take any questions. >> as already republicans on
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capitol hill are saying they oppose this agenda, senator rubio said that nothing by the president has proposed would have stopped the massacre at sandy hook and said that the president's agenda is to take away second amendment rights. i'm wondering how you would respond to that and what you think about the political challenges ahead. >> the senator is just wrong. that's first and foremost. no one is talking -- no one is talking about including president obama. no one is talking about taking anyone's second amendment rights away. if he had actually listened to the president's speech he would know that. and there have been no actions by the president that give any validity to that. if the gentleman just wants to be opposed for the sake of being opposed and ignore the facts, i generally don't argue with people who engage in that kind of irresponsible behavior. so, it's america, he's entitled to his position. he's wrong. >> mayor nutter, there are people out there who are trying
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to take a serious look at this, trying to help the politicians come up with ways to curb gun violence. one of those people is former baltimore city mayor who is looking at the a.t.f. he's saying that they have not demonstrated an ability to control the flow of firearms in our society and do you think that they need to be either eliminated or reduced because of their inability to deal with the issues of firearms? >> i think what the a.t.f. needs is a permanent executive director or director rather, as the president mentioned congress for whatever reason has not confirmed a director of the a.t.f.e. -- atfe. apparently in six years. while at the same time the n.r.a., through members of congress, have sought to either defund or in some instances emass the clerk will designate the atfe by restricting their operations in such ways as to prevent them from doing their
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job. so, you know, you can't underfund an organization and then complain that they're not doing their work. that's not what i'm sure the mayor is saying. the issue of the atfe is one of funding, it's one of leadership and both of those areas congress bears an enormous amount of responsibility and blame. >> he said he's been around for 75 years with $1 billion budget and they just have not done the work. even in this time. >> yeah, again, i mean, i'd have to either see what the mayor said or have a conversation to better understand his point of view. i think we all agree that any of us in government can do a better job at any point in time. and all of us have an obligation to do all that we can. again, as the president said, if one life is saved, going to ask these folks over here, if one life is saved it's good work. it's the right thing to do.
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let's do the right thing. >> mr. mayor and for dan, a lot of -- this is going to be a tough vote for a lot of tough democrats from conservative states. why should they put themselves on the line to vote for something like this when there's no evidence to this point that the house, held by republicans, is going to move forward, one? and two, why do you think it says there weren't any republicans in the room today with president obama? >> i wasn't in charge of the invite list so i don't know who was in the room or who didn't come. it's a free country. i'm sure folks are invited. they had the opportunity to do so. you know, the thing is, i've been in public life for some time. and what i found is that there's no better action as a public servant than just doing what is right and stop worrying about whether or not you're going to keep this particular job. if you do your job well, if you serve your constituents, if you do what's in your heart and soul, that should be enough. and so -- let me finish my answer. so saving people's lives or trying to save people's lives,
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we're taking actions that in reality you'll never know the life that you save. you can't document that one. but if you just do what's right, what's sensible, common sense, reasonable, rational, regulations put in place to help ensure that those who shouldn't have weapons don't get them, that noun no one has really been able to explain why a civilian need as military-style weapon or body armor, etc., etc., so those members, they will have to deal with their own conscience, they'll have to deal with their own constituents and god for bid they should ever, as was mentioned, be one of the three people in america that gun violence touches. they might just have a slightly different perspective. >> the last time congressional democrats took a vote on gun violence, scores of them were voted ouf office. >> that wasn't the only thing going on in the country in 1994. you might have noticed that there were a few other things happening in america at that time. and so this idea that somehow
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one vote, i don't know about you, but i've been in office, generally one vote does not get you turned out of office. there were a lot of things going on in 1994 that may have caused some to lose their position. but again i would say to you, stand up and do what's right and then you let the chips fall where they may. that's the essence of public service. next question. >> mayor, if you don't mind, part of this comes from the standpoint of the elected officials and mayor nutter, very powerfully expressed that perspective. part of this comes from the important voice of the constituents themselves. this is going to be an issue where the american people are going to need to lead too many of our leaders and we need to provide the support that shows them that it is safe to do the right thing, they know the right thing to do in most of these cases where you're hearing vocal opposition. we need to demonstrate that.
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it's safe to do the right thing. it's safe to support something like universal background checks that 74% of n.r.a. members, 82% of gun owners and 92% of the american public supports. we need to demonstrate that that includes their constituency. and at the same time we need to hold accountable the elected officials that don't act in our best interest on our behalf. and the combination of the bold principles, moral leadership that mayor nutter described and the voice of the american public in terms of supporting the leads that are do the right thing and holding ones who don't accountable is going to be the combination that is going to make the proposal that you heard today succeed. >> any republican support this proposal yet that you've seen? >> well, i think the president spoke about an hour ago. i don't know that any bill has been introduced in the congress. he signed a series of executive orders. so why don't we let it live for
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a little bit. why don't we let it play out a little bit. why don't we actually get into the business of introducing legislation and then allow the legislators to do their job which is to vote. that's what they do. that's what they do for a living. this is not business for the faint of heart. if you don't like making tough decisions, you should find another job. next question. >> what do you want to see the president do next? what's the next step for the campaign? do you want to see him talking about this every day? [inaudible] >> i generally don't give the president advice about what he should be doing on a daily basis. but what i expect he'll be doing is talking about this -- these issues. the president in his own words said that he was going to do everything he possibly can to make sure that this initiative moves forward. obviously, again, in reference to my earlier response, there will need to be legislation. we'll need to see the executive orders. iav

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Public Affairs
CSPAN January 16, 2013 1:00pm-5:00pm EST

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